Congregational Meeting to Explore Purchase of Parsonage

October 14, 2018 at 9:30 am in the Sanctuary

The PRLC Parish Council has been in much deliberation, prayer and study about the urgent and ongoing need to provide pastoral housing for the Associate Pastor. In response to this need, the PRLC Council proposes the purchase of a parsonage for the use of pastoral staff as part of their compensation.

The Seattle housing crisis directly affects the congregation’s ability to hire and/or retain pastoral staff with less experience or seniority than the Lead Pastor. Such individuals are less likely to have the funds to rent, buy, or co-invest in a house in the PRLC neighborhood. Currently, the Associate Pastor and her family have been renting a home at a below-market rate from a former PRLC member who is planning to sell the house in the near future.

Renting another home has been explored, but it was determined that renting a home does not solve our anticipated ongoing housing need and may open pastors up to the risk of needing to move during their call.

It was suggested that one of the Phinney Houses be renovated and used as a parsonage.  We investigated the possibility of repairing, remodeling, and expanding these houses so that most of the current residents could be accommodated while the other house be used for pastoral staff. However, lot restrictions, remodeling time tables, and the well-being of the current residents made this option significantly more complicated that the current proposal. The council suggests keeping pastoral housing questions separate from questions concerning the Phinney Houses so that any changes to these houses are made prayerfully, thoughtfully, and without unnecessary timing or financial pressure.

To fund the parsonage, we have been approved to invest up to 25% of the total value of the PRLC Endowment Fund. There remains a need to pay for the amount not covered by the endowment. Potential ways to pay for the monthly mortgage include, for example, a capital campaign, reduced spending in current ministry programs, increased monthly giving, sale of other assets, and major gifts. Anticipated cost of a proposed house would be roughly $800,000. We have created a Parsonage Team to consider all of the in-depth factors associated with this decision and to then choose the right home for all the right reasons. The Parsonage Team will work out the details and oversee the purchase of a house and its maintenance needs.

As with all staff members, salary guidelines provided by our Northwest Washington Synod are used to determine the appropriate combination of salary and housing benefit.  Obviously, those living in a parsonage are not given a housing allowance.

Feel free to contact members of the Executive Committee: Jill Yetman, president; Russ Simonson, Vice-President; Andrew Shutes-David, Secretary; Todd Wathey, Treasurer; or Pastor Bryon Hansen.