I have been trying to diligently make my way through the book, The Unprivate Life of a Pastor’s Wife by Frances Nordland. I have finally made it to chapter 11. There have been a great many quotes that I thought were “quote worthy”, but that will probably be a later post. Chapter 8 dealt with a topic that any member of a pastor’s family knows and admittedly loves: the parsonage. The chapter was very interesting, but more humorous than anything in my opinion.
In the chapter, Nordland poses ten questions from an article in a magazine called This Week that church members should ask themselves if providing a parsonage for a pastor:
1. Does the parsonage need painting inside and out?
2. Do those stains on the walls and ceilings represent a roof leak?
3. Is the kitchen an obsolete “woman killer’? Are the stove and refrigerator more than fifteen years old?
4. Has the bathroom been modernized?
5. Is the furnace automatic? Does it keep the house warm enough in the winter?
6. Is the wiring safe? Are there enough outlets to run the appliances used in most homes?
7. If the furniture is church-owned, is it comfortable and reasonably attractive?
8. Does the minister have a quiet place to meditate and prepare sermons?
9. How does the parsonage compare to other homes in the neighborhood?
10. Would you and your family like to live there?
The magazine article used these questions to help prove the point of the title of the article that the thing most ministers hate about their jobs is the parsonage. The article received tons of responses and one in particular was published, which Nordland quotes a substantial portion of in her chapter. The woman’s letter to the editor discussed how she loved living in the parsonages over the course of her husband’s ministry in different churches. She ended her letter with the title of this post “Parsonages, God bless ’em.”
I have lived in only one parsonage that I can actually recall, and I was only a Pastor’s Kid during that time, not a wife. If you want real stories about the parsonages, you’d better ask my mother. Though my experience and knowledge of parsonages is limited, those questions still make me laugh as I remember the one parsonage that I was able to call home. I do know one thing, parsonages certainly need God’s blessing!