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Where Do You Live?

By Hedgehog.

We all have to live somewhere. Hedgehog lives in a Vicarage, of which more in a moment. Some of you reading this little item live in a Manse or a Rectory or even a Presbytery or - horror of horrors - a curate house. Some of you may live in a house you own (or at least are buying via a mortgage).

Arguments rage back and forth about where Christian leaders should live. Tied houses are popular with denominational leaders (especially Bishops) because they allow greater freedom of deployment and anchor the minister in his or her patch. But frequent moves cause problems for families and go against all the research which demonstrates that long tenures of ministry are best for both church and leader.

On the other hand, a minister who lives in a house he or she owns is likely to stay put longer in order to avoid the cost and aggravation of selling, buying, moving and resettling, but that means they may outstay their effectiveness in a church or parish.

So there are pluses and minuses on both sides.

The location is stunningly beautiful, but unhelpful, because it allows the parish whose vicarage it used to be to assume (and behave as though!) they still have a Vicar which they (generously) share with the other two churches in the Benefice. Complacency rules, OK!

So should the minister's house be close to the church? Probably not. Better that it be in the midst of the local community. Should he or she live in a tied house or buy their own? I'm not sure.

But of one thing I am absolutely sure. I'm fortunate enough to own my own house (via a mortgage), sharing my time between it and the Vicarage. And there is nothing better calculated to give a Christian leader the confidence and security to do their job well than knowing that, should the wheels come off in ministry, the possible loss of their job does not mean the loss of their home as well. Hedgehog has been there, and still carries the scars of the experience.

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A lovable, but sometimes prickly fellow

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You are reading Where Do You Live? by Hedgehog, part of Issue 34 of Ministry Today, published in June 2005.

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