Update: The proposal that Fourth Church purchase a new manse for the use of its current and future senior pastors was approved by the congregation at the May 6, 2018, congregational meeting.

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The following letter was emailed on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, to all Fourth Presbyterian Church members for whom we have a current email address.

If you are a member and did not receive the email, you can add your email address to our news updates list by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dear Members of Fourth Presbyterian Church,
Prior to John Buchanan moving out of the Fourth Church manse in the mid-1990s, this congregation has provided a home for its senior pastor. In light of that historical commitment, in the fall of 2016 a committee reporting to Session and the Board of Trustees was established to study what would be involved in restoring that practice: continuing the legacy of providing a home for senior pastors of Fourth Church.

Over the past year and a half the committee has studied extensively all reasonable alternatives. They discovered that the cost of rehabbing the current manse would cost significantly more than purchasing a new manse. Likewise, they learned that all other housing options would cost more than a new manse, and none of those would be free of property taxes.

Therefore the committee has recommended to Session and the Board of Trustees that Fourth Presbyterian Church acquire a new manse for the use of its current and future senior pastors.  

Both boards subsequently approved the recommendation at a joint meeting on Saturday, April 7 and now bring that recommendation to the congregation for their vote.

Thus, on Sunday, May 6 following the 11:00 a.m. service, there will be a congregational meeting, called by Session, at which the members of Fourth Church will be asked to vote on the recommendation to acquire a new manse.

The full proposal to the boards, including an executive summary, is being mailed to all Fourth Church members on Thursday, April 12, 2018. It includes not only background to the topic—as well as the rationale and recommended conditions for the acquisition of a new manse—but also two pages of answers to questions we imagine members might have. The proposal synopsis is posted here

After reading through the mailed proposal, if members should still have questions, they are invited to attend one of two upcoming Senior Pastor Housing Information Sessions, at which there will be opportunity to hear from the housing committee and ask any remaining questions or offer comments.

Those information sessions will be held on

               Sunday, April 15 | 12:30 p.m. in the Bumpus Room

               Sunday, April 22 | 12:15 p.m. in Borwell Dining Room

Those members who are unable to attend either session and would like to direct a question or comment to the committee may do so by emailing Allison Santos at asantos@fourthchurch.org

Since we believe in the power of making decisions as a gathered community, there will not be an absentee ballot or opportunity to vote electronically. We ask that if members feel called to be part of this decision—and we hope as many of you as possible will!—that they be present with us on Sunday, May 6 following the 11:00 a.m. service.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Rebecca Dixon, President, Board of Trustees
Andrew McGaan, Clerk of Session