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Parsonages are most commonly used for pastor family housing. I know of a handful of churches that have converted them to youth buildings or refugee housing and such. But that’s rare.

I was active in CRC ministry from 1979 to 2018. 39 years. 3/4 of that was in parsonages. It was a blessing. 
An earlier comment noted the high cost of housing in Canada. A parsonage is essential in high housing cost markets, unless you want to only consider well established wealthier pastors. They are also great in low demand markets such as rural communities, where houses can be hard to sell and unlikely to appreciate much in value. 
The first house I bought in 2004 for $300,000 was worth just over $200,000 in 2010. My advice to young pastors is to not let anyone tell you that owning property is the secret to wealth. You’ll owe property taxes (currently $6000/year for me) and be responsible for all repairs and maintenance and utilities. Say around $13,000 per year. In more cases than not I’d welcome the parsonage 

While council meetings are technically open, in forty years I can’t remember a single member attending. So technical executive session is rarely or never called. That makes just publishing minutes dangerous. 

But I also favor maximum transparency. In every church I served I encouraged the publication of minimally edited minutes. Remove the boring stuff like roll call and such. Also clearly confidential matters. And publish as quickly as possible. An informed congregation is a happy congregation 

There is a very powerful private group on Facebook exclusively for Ministers of the Word and Commissioned Pastors in the CRCNA, or those from other denominations serving in CRCNA settings. If you apply for admission, please answer the questions completely. I help moderate the group, and it you are not in in the named groups you will not be admitted.

Here's how to apply:

Search for "Pastors of the Christian Reformed Church" in the search bar at the top of your Facebook timeline and ask to be admitted.

The linked document makes for interesting reading, especially as one recognizes how many of these provisions are ignored in our churches today. Many have Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day, as explicitly required by the C.O. Many observe Ascension Day on the Sunday before or after. The list goes on. It would be good if some of this were rewritten to be more descriptive and less prescriptive

The earlier link I posted has died. This one works

Thank you for this post. It helpfully reminds us of the various pressures women with unplanned pregnancies face.

You said of women seeking abortion counseling that "few knew the facts about what having an abortion entails." Yet, when I sent a link giving a clinically accurate, non-graphic description of what happens during different abortion procedures with a suggestion it be posted for information on the OSJ abortion page it was rejected. If you didn't like that one, perhaps you could find another. As you said about women seeking an abortion, "They need education, resources and support."

I had to search for the link. This is the one I suggested for the OSJ abortion page:

Unlike too many anti-abortion sites, I found this one to be medically accurate without being too graphic and without hysterical screeds against women who get abortions. It clearly explains the four types of procedure, and at which stages of pregnancy they are used.

Thanks for this account, Dean. Like Shannon said, we too often make abortion about an issue rather than real people.

In answer to your question about how to advise in a case like this, I would likely encourage that as soon as the rape kit was complete the hospital should be asked to immediately perform an emergency D&C. Not all will agree, but I would see this morally as preventing pregnancy, akin to taking the pill, rather than terminating a pregnancy.

While I'm not an expert and I've never heard of anyone trying this, I strongly suspect that in an IRS audit you would lose this argument quickly, and be charged the appropriate back taxes and penalties. Besides, as pastors our primary asset is our reputation for integrity. I have no problem with pastors using every allowable tax break, and have done so myself. But I would personally never engage in this kind of "creative" deduction.

Absolutely no intention to question your integrity. Interesting that businesses that use dogs for security can deduct the expense. That provides more legal grounding than I had anticipated. Perhaps it will come down to your own internal balancing of whether you are primarily getting another dog for the security or as a pet.

Kate, there must be something I don't understand about your financial reports, because what your former preparer says simply makes no sense to me. The purpose of a financial statement is normally to give an accurate account of he current balances on a specified date. If the purpose is to maintain a permanent record of the original gifts (in this case $4000) some kind of running record can be kept. But the closing balance shown should be the actual balance held in the bank. Again, unless I simply don't understand your question.

I read a hint somewhere many years ago that has helped me immensely. I make it a habit to be one of the last two or three people to leave the building after church each Sunday. That allows those who may be less forward to linger and know they will have a chance to talk with me. Like Daniel Brown I have my calendar with me so I can schedule follow up contact if needed. But I have found it saves a lot of work over the following week. Often people have questions that can be quickly answered, and there is nothing further that needs to be done.

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