Parsonage vs. Housing Allowance : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I grew up in a parsonage. Once a year, the trustees would come over to take inventory of the property and contents. Some visits were pleasant, other times they appeared and acted like the "secret police". Our parsonage was located in area where many of the members once lived yet moved away. I doubt if they would reconsider moving back into the "hood". If a church supplies a decent parsonage...that is fine! More too often...the parsonage needs a great deal of repair, and it is a struggle to deal with persons with a "dat-a-do" mentality (i.e. any old thing will do). I am more inclined towards the pastor receiving an adequate housing allowance. It gives the pastor a chance to own his/her own home. If something should happen in terms of repair, it is his/her responsibility...utilities are his/her concern....provides a tax shelter in terms of income (investment). More importantly, if something should happen to the pastor, his/her spouse would not live under the gun of having to vacate the premisis within a certain amount of time, but have a key to his/her own place. I once heard Bishop Frank Cummings say during a session of the Orlando Conference "if you love the pastor, help him/her by providing security and an adequate housing allowance. Allow him/her to have pride in home ownership!" Please share your thoughts.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2002


I've seen two parsonages in the last few years. One was a single wide mobile home in the church parking lot where a family of four lived, including elementary and middle school age children.

The other was physically attached to the church building. It was old, but not too bad. However the kitchen also served the fellowship hall. Think of it. Walk into your kitchen and you're in the large, echoing fellowship hall. And anytime the fellowship hall is used, there's your kitchen on the edge.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2002

I have witnessed something similar to what you described. My brother served as a pastor to a church, in which his kitchen in the parsonage was connected to his office. On the other side of the office was the sanctuary! I was able to listen to his worship service without going to church! There would be persons trying to see him after the service and would actually knock on his office door to reach him in his kitchen. Talk about your lack of privacy!

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2002

I favor the idea of a parsonage (minimum 2,500 sq. ft. & 4BR/3BA) provided it is physically seperated from the church building and located in a nearby neighborhood. My decision is based on two factors: (1) Cost Control - A rising cost of housing makes any allowance a volatile cost component and (2) Congregational Responsibility - A parsonage arrangement promotes the concept of meeting essential needs. Routine maintenance by the Board of Trustees would also be expected to assure satisfactory living conditions for the pastor and his family. QED

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2002

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