Church Manses/Parsonages. As well as Pastors Thoughts On Them.

Does Your Church Have a Manse? & (For Pastors) Yeah or Nay on Manses


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Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
This is a two-part question and poll.

The first part is a general question as to whether or not your church has a manse/parsonage (there is no real difference just a different term) for your Pastor. For those who do not know a manse/parsonage is a house or living space provided to the Pastor by the Church.

The second part is a question for Pastors. I would like to know what your thoughts are on Manses/Parsonages and whether you have one or would like to have one.

I have heard both views from Pastors. Some claim Manses are better because they make you more of a part of the Congregation and make leaving a lot easier. Others do not like the "intrusions" that Manses invariable attract. Also some are concerned about the "equity" that one can build up by owning a house, while some Pastors I have talked to who do live in a manse have more "equity" built up than if they did own a house. So I'd like to hear what you think.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Ben, in both of my pastorates, the church has furnished a manse. There are advantages and disadvantages. Probably the biggest disadvantage is that the pastor who takes a manse is not able to build up equity in a home by paying a mortgage. If he does save for the future, he will have nothing for his family when he "retires." Since my wife and I will both inherit property in the future, this is not a major concern for us.

The manse at my first pastorate was not a decent home, In my humble opinion. The one in Louisville is very nice, though. Since the church has already paid for it, it is a "win-win" for the church and the pastor. Also, the manse was not adjacent to the church at either pastorate (a half-mile away in MS; on a different street, but just across a back field here in KY). In many ways, I actually prefer the manse, but I realize that's not for everyone, either.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I find that a manse a couple miles away from the church building is not much different from owning a house a ways away.

A manse is especially helpful in a small church that owns it outright, can afford to pay a pastor less (hopefully only because they have little money!), there are no additional costs, i.e. taxes on the property, and the maintenance and utilities are usually included by the church.

I would recommend that a pastor on a small salary, living in a manse, save specifically (a little at a time) to purchase a retirement home, either when he has the money or enough for a down payment, and sees a good price. An early purchase is not necessarily a wise purchase, if the cost of housing drops (bubble anyone?). The location for this place should be well thought out. Perhaps "central", perhaps someplace "warm", just put some thought into it. Maybe it should be just an investment property, if such a thing can be afforded, and when retirement arrives, then sell it, and buy where your kids live, etc.

Of course, the biggest investment you make will be in your children. If they are fighting over who gets to take care of you in your dotage, you may have done something right, even if you have no "home" to which you may retire.
 

JonathanHunt

Puritan Board Senior
Our church used to have a manse. When the last Pastor came he wanted to buy his own house as he had some capital to do so.

So the church sold the manse. The money for the manse has sat in trust ever since earning about 5%. That fund is now just about enough to buy one third of a house at today's prices.

Selling a manse is a very, very, silly idea. Even if the pastor doesn't want it, rent it out.

If our church had a manse today it could have realistically have called a man, and employed him part-time at the very least. As it is, the church can't manage to support anyone at all (I come free of charge as I am 'bivoc').

So I say manses are a good thing. I don't perhaps think it is best to be right next door to the church with a big sign saying 'MANSE' on the house - i.e. come and bother us in the middle of the night with your hard luck stories etc, but to be within a ten minute walk, in the local community, is certainly a useful thing.

J
 

TheocraticMonarchist

Puritan Board Junior
Of course, the biggest investment you make will be in your children. If they are fighting over who gets to take care of you in your dotage, you may have done something right, even if you have no "home" to which you may retire.

Wisdom :D
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
A manse is fine but it is insecure. I knew a minister who suddenly collapsed and died. Although the church was very good to the widow, once the new minister was appointed she had to leave the manse. Had they bought a house she would at least have held onto her home.
 

Presbyterian Deacon

Puritan Board Graduate
No Manse for Pastor, but own a house used by other ministers

Our Senior Pastor owns his own home.

The Church owns a house and property which is used by the local campus minister of Reformed University Fellowship
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
A manse is fine but it is insecure. I knew a minister who suddenly collapsed and died. Although the church was very good to the widow, once the new minister was appointed she had to leave the manse. Had they bought a house she would at least have held onto her home.

This sounds more like a church that failed to care for a widow then a problem with having a manse.
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
We don't have one.

If we did, I would try to make my way out of it. I think it's a good idea for a church to own a house, but not for a permanent dwelling for the pastor. It's a good place for a new pastor to live. But it would be better for the pastor to be able to purchase a home for his family and use the house for missionaries and interns. A budding young apprentice could be valuable to the pastor, and affordable if the church owned a house. Since our church is so small, I'm trying to figure out a way to provide a small dwelling for a pastor in training, if God should so provide.
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
We have one but our pastor doesn't live there, he used to though.

He lives in a house that his mother-in-law bought. It works out nicely for his wife because she can take care of her parents.
 
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