I’m trying to get a sense of the norm regarding parsonage standards throughout the United Methodist connection and need your help. Here in the Tennessee Annual Conference there are published standards for clergy parsonages in our Standing Rules which lay out certain requirements for the house, and specifies what furniture must be provided. In a world such as we have today where there are as many churches with housing allowances as parsonages, the issue of parsonage furniture can be a pain for those of us who have our own furniture from living in our own spaces under a housing allowance, leading to issues of storage and expense (and who is responsible for that). If you wouldn’t mind, would you take a minute to answer the following questions in the comments:
1) Does your annual conference have formal standards for parsonages and if so, do they provide adequate housing for pastors?
2) What are the requirements for what furniture needs to be provided, and are there any rules on storage of parsonage or clergy furniture?
3) What would you change in your conferences standards?
4) Should the connection move to eliminate parsonages and instead encourage adequate compensation to provide for housing? Are parsonages an outdated relic of our history?
UPDATE: Also, if you have any funny parsonage stories you want to share it would be appreciated.