When a charitable or religious society or association desires to sell, lease, exchange, or encumber by mortgage or otherwise any real estate owned by it, held in trust by it for a specified religious or charitable purpose, or held for its use or benefit by trustees chosen by it or otherwise constituted, for any such purpose, except grounds used as burial places for the dead, then the trustees, wardens, and vestry, or other officers entrusted with the management of the affairs of such society or association or holding the title to such property, or such society or association itself if it is incorporated in this state, may file, in the court of common pleas of the county in which the real estate is situated, a petition stating how and by whom the title to such real estate is held, the desire of such society or association to make the sale, lease, exchange, or encumbrance, and the object thereof. If upon the hearing of the case it appears that such sale, exchange, lease, or encumbrance is desired by the members of the society or association and that it is proper that authority should be given to accomplish it, the court may authorize the trustees or other officers of the society or association, or, if it is incorporated, the society or association itself, to sell, lease, exchange, or encumber such real estate in accordance with the prayer of the petition and upon such terms as the court deems reasonable.
In case the title to the property is held for the use or benefit of such society or association by trustees, all or a majority of whom are not chosen by such society or association, and who refuse upon request of such society or association, or of its trustees, wardens, and vestry or other officers, to file such petition, then, upon the petition of the society or association or of its trustees or other officers, such court may require the trustees holding the title to lease, convey, or encumber the real estate in accordance with the prayer of the petition and upon terms it deems reasonable. All trustees holding title and refusing to file or join in the petition must be made defendants therein and must be served with summons as in a civil action.
The petitioner shall cause notice of the pendency and prayer of the petition to be published, in some newspaper of general circulation in the county where the real estate proposed to be sold, leased, exchanged, or encumbered is situated, for four consecutive weeks before the application is heard.
Effective Date: 10-01-1953 .