Moving on from the manse
Anne Bedford looks at the issues facing ministers who retire after a career in the manse
Moving house can be fraught with delays, abortive offers and poor surveys. Even if all has gone smoothly, there comes the packing and clearing of cupboards, lofts, garden sheds. It can be a stressful time for anyone, but for ministers and church-related community workers, preparation for retirement means not only having to leave their congregations but also finding a new home of their own – rather than a manse provided by the church – sometimes for the first time.
With the changing face of ministry, some may have been able to make provision for themselves from other employment. Others may have inherited a property. But many have no such opportunity and help is needed.
Before 1972, when the United Reformed Church was formed, the Presbyterian Church of England had a fund for retired ministers housing while the Congregational Church had a residential care home, Fen Place. However, by 1979, the URC’s General Assembly accepted a moral obligation to provide housing for retired ministers and ministers’ widows or widowers. This meant a commitment to raise funds, and a national appeal was launched. The appeal maintained a high profile in the Church until the 1990s, when the URC’s financial position allowed low interest loans to be made to the Housing Society so that it was not standalone…
Anne Bedford is chair of the Retired Ministers Housing Society board
This is an extract from an article that was published in the February 2020 edition of Reform