My wife and I have been sharing a pastor’s position for the last 2+ years for a pair of churches, about a year ago things started going south with one of them, honestly I expected to be let go sooner and the process is still in the works.
When we took the job initially it was with the understanding that we had to live in the church provided house, which almost prevented us from taking the position after seeing its condition, but ignoring our instincts we forged ahead.
In the just over 2 years that we lived there we shared the space with at least 3 squirrels, who knows how many mice though the cat has left us an easy 50 of them, 2 voles, 4 chipmunks, several birds, and finally a couple bats; these resulted in rabies shots for everyone.
The list of problems with the house were legion with an entire wall falling off, a leak in the roof for well over 2 years, a second leak that they occasionally patch, windows that are installed so poorly the top sashes don’t stay up on their own, massive drafts in the winter and floors that aren’t flat; think the surface of the sea. To top it off there was two blatant lies, first that they would fix some of this which they never did and second that the house contained no lead. The professional lead tester said it was the worst he’d ever seen; it does explain why the bunny died the way it did.
The final kicker was that one of the churches wasn’t spending the money on it that they should have, ministers have a housing allowance that we don’t get paid if we live in the church’s housing with the caveat that they will keep and maintain the property in a proper manner. Instead the church had been abusing their relationship with their partner church and pocketing most of the cash after paying utilities and trying to avoid as much work on the place as possible.
When my daughter came back from a lead test with elevated levels, thankfully not critical levels, we decided to push things and move though we had to wait a couple months first. The result is that my entire shop and most of the wood I had now sits stacked in a garage.
When my wife and I first started bringing the issue to light and informed both the denomination and the partner church of what was happening the church started moving against us, suddenly all the issues that the church had with the last two pastors now existed with us. The result is that last sunday I hopefully preached my last sermon there, we’ve given our termination notice pending an agreed upon severance packet; if an agreement can’t be reached I’ll have to head back but they won’t like the sermons. I also start interrum training in a week to add another dimension to my ministry.
The up side is that the partner church really wants to keep us though it knows it will have to settle for one of us and so we’d still be making 40 percent of our current salary which is already slim pickings but it means that the other of us can fill in preaching at other churches as needed, lead meetings, and assorted other odd jobs.
So the good news, sorta…
My parents picked up 9 acres of land with a house and a barn, and are offering us the house for free if we want it, however they only paid 11k for the whole package, that should tell you something.
No pic of the front but it isn’t any better, the temp was 8 degrees without the windchill when I went to look it over.
it is gutted, there is no wiring, no plumbing, only 1 of three doors left, only 3 of 24 windows left, extreme water damage to the downstairs hardwood floors, the furnace and heater ducts have been stolen along with the water heater and it has a lot of interior damage.
the foundation is solid, my parents had the roof put on 4 years ago as a gift to my sister and her husband when they claimed they would fix it up, my parents will still be covering most of the taxes since they will sign over the house but keep the land and barn in their name, it’s gutted so there’s no restriction on what to put where, it would give me a place I own outright and can keep as a family retreat when we do move in a few years.
The possible overly ambitious plan.
If the partner church does offer one of us a new contract which wouldn’t be till the dust settles in 2 months then I will start working on the house, if an amazing opportunity opens up in the meantime then this plan is abandoned for that better opportunity.
I will attempt to completely refinish the entire house for the grand total of 20k and no more in an effort to avoid a loan.
This means all new electrical, heating, flooring, everything for under 20k. Because there is no long term view on living here I will not be going deluxe so don’t look for that, I’d never recoup the cost difference of double vs. triple pane so I’m not wasting the cash. .042 siding is thick enough for the area, so I’m not spending the extra 1k to go up .003 in thickness. Most if not all materials will be sourced from craigslist, building supply auctions, and similar sources of materials. I will not use used materials, remnants will be commonplace; and I will make a lot of things such as all the flooring and trim; actually want to make the flooring from locust which looks pretty to me. My FIL will be helping some in the beginning as he is able, he is also a retired furnace installer and can get me the furnace and all ducting for wholesale.
Basically there will be more time then money invested in this but for the next 5-6 months I may have nothing but time. If I do go ahead with this project I will keep a running blog here to show what is being done and total up the costs so people can see how close I stay to my 20k goal.
-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse