2022 Resolution #8:
Addressing the Need for Clergy Housing in the Diocese of California

Secretary of the Convention

Last Update: July 31st, 2022

Status 
This proposed resolution is being reviewed by the Committee on Resolutions and may not be in its final form.

 

Resolved, That the 173rd Convention of the Diocese of California establish as an urgent priority addressing the lack of housing for rectors/vicars and associate/assistant clergy faced by many congregations of the diocese; and

 

Resolved, That the Executive Council and Office of the Bishop are charged with proposing steps for short and long-term plans for addressing clergy housing needs at the 174th Convention.

Explanation:

The strain of the Bay Area's cost of living affects many. The needs of society are great, and while we have wonderful Diocesan institutions helping address many of those needs, along with great efforts by many congregations, our own members have not been untouched by the financial strain made worse by the insufficient inventory of housing to meet the needs of the area. 

This can impact our clergy, too, and may do so more in the years to come. We value, seek, invite, call, and often expect to have a priest serving in many or most of our parishes and missions. We want to be able to recruit clergy whose callings fit the callings of the churches in the Diocese, from wherever they may need to relocate to live in the Diocese.

Yet, while we strive to pay a fair salary (with excellent benefits) to our vicars and rectors, many churches lack or are strained by the use of resources to pay a salary that makes living in the Bay Area sustainable.

In the coming years, this will impede the ability of more congregations to recruit and maintain clergy and will limit the pool of those available and willing to relocate to or remain long-term in the Diocese. It may also mean that clergy reside outside of the communities they serve, perhaps even outside of the deaneries in which their congregations are located. Meanwhile, funds that could be deployed to address this same and other problems in the larger society are deployed instead toward the increased minimum salaries required of those churches that do not provide housing to their vicars/rectors and associates/assistants.

As a Diocesan community, if we prioritize this and work together, we may find resources and collaboration that result in answers to this dilemma, and we will be in a better position to address this issue.

Submitted by:

Rev. Michael P. Barham, Vicar, Good Shepherd Belmont & Holy Family Half Moon Bay, allyallbeloved@gmail.com

Rev. Anna Marie Hoose

Rev. Jon Owens