Parsonage Painting Party

Winter exploded on Fall Creek after several weeks of especially warm weather. Nearly a foot of wet, heavy snow was followed by several more inches. The wind did its part to blow some of it around, but most of the snow moving required tractors, strong backs and county snow plows.  The lawns glistened in white, looking fresh and inviting. It was a day to stay home and enjoy a warm drink by a fireplace.


But winter does not control the energy and giving nature of a small gaggle of St. James Trinity members. On this frosty Saturday morn, they gathered at the parsonage to glisten it in new paint and help it to look fresh and inviting. And what a difference these volunteers are making!


The parsonage, at 415 State Street, was built sometime in the 1920’s. It is a 6 bedroom, 2 bathroom home just a few houses south from the church. Though average looking from the outside, it is far more spacious than expected. It boasts a full basement, very large closets, a dining nook, separate living and dining rooms, a small office that years ago served as the church office, arched passages, a two-car garage, and a lovely enclosed front porch. It is a charmer for sure. But even “charmers” need a make-over now and then.


The kitchen will hopefully soon have new flooring, new countertops, new backsplash and new baseboards. It is already wearing a lovely neutral colored coat of paint. The rest of the house is also being repainted, the carpets cleaned, and the dining room light fixture replaced. The upstairs bath is now sporting a brand new shower. Like the snow outside, it feels fresh and light and new.


Ron Menard has master-minded this renovation, personally contributing a lot of the work and other services. When asked why he is involved, he replied, “We’re doing this in hopes that a new pastor might want to live here. And I like to paint!” This renewal project started in October with multiple volunteers helping as able. Most of the main level painting and renewal is complete. “The carpets still need cleaning,” Ron said, “but we’ve come a long way.”


Church ownership of parsonages has become a controversial issue. Some say that a parsonage allows pastors easier transitions without the hassles and financial responsibilities of home ownership. Others argue that living in a parsonage prevents pastors from developing personal financial equity and are a maintenance and tax issue for the church. Despite differing viewpoints, no one contests that parsonages have enjoyed a long history in the Lutheran church, housing families through the daily joys and sorrows of life.


If this parsonage could talk, what would it say about St. James Trinity and the years that it was literally a place where parsons aged? Perhaps it would simply offer the invitation that Jesus offered……all are welcome!