Clergy Housing at All Saints’ Palo Alto
An area of considerable concern for All Saints’, Palo Alto, both its parishioners and lay-leaders, is that of clergy housing in an area not known for affordable housing. As much as candidates have considered how to address housing issues, we promise you that the people of All Saints’ have thought longer and harder about the same questions! The point is we care and are concerned; we want this to work for us all in one of the most challenging housing markets anywhere. Please know that we are here to work with clergy in every way humanly possible, using all the resources at our disposal, for an outcome pleasing and acceptable to all.
Rector’s Housing Fund: All Saints’ sold its rectory decades ago, well before the housing boom; the proceeds formed the basis of our Rector’s Housing Fund, currently (June 2022) valued at just over $563,000 and now available as a loan for investment in a home equity sharing arrangement. (We have had success with this in the past: this model was used with previous clergy when the clergyperson funded a 66% share and All Saints’ funded a 34% share to purchase a home. When the property was sold, both the rector and All Saints’ received their appreciated proportional proceeds. All Saints’ funds were added back to the corpus of the Fund and are now available again for investment in a new home). This Fund is available for a priest-in-charge as well as a rector.
We feel it is advantageous for both church and clergy that our priest lives as close as possible to the church. This does not necessarily imply “living over the shop,” yet close enough that one’s commute does not become a barrier to participate in the life of the church and the community.
But we also know from the variety of today’s clergy situations that one size – i.e., one rectory – would not fit all. We have talked with priests who are single, married, partnered, kids at home or not, one- or two-income families, etc. But even after all those dimensions, some prefer a garden, some a spare bedroom for guests, some prefer no yard maintenance! Some think a turn-key downtown (‘walk to the church’) condo would be fantastic; others think ‘that sounds too close for comfort’.
Our Housing Fund provides two important benefits for priests:
- The priest decides the best location and configuration for his/her/their needs, and
- The priest benefits from the appreciation of a SF Bay Area real estate investment.
We want priests to understand that we are engaged and experienced in working on clergy housing. We hope you will be encouraged to talk with us about your gifts and our needs (and vice versa) without the self-editing thought “oh, I couldn’t afford to live there.” Let us work together on this as one of our first “partnered ministry” challenges!
- January 14, 2022; rev. August 6, 2022