The Indiana Conference has a clergy spouse blog that offers a forum for discussion of many topics as well as asking for prayer. Last week, one person listed a concern living next door to the church. She commented, " People from the church don't bother us, but we have persons stopping by who are looking for handouts. Any suggestions how to prevent or discourage these 'visitors'?"
We lived next door to two different churches for a combined total of ten years. One church even had a sign in our front yard identifying the parsonage. We had persons regularly knock on the door day and night, asking for everything from coffee to groceries to gasoline to meals. I was very apprehensive when my husband went out of town leaving me alone with two small children, praying that I would not be disturbed in the middle of the night. Even though I never answered the door when he was gone, still knowing a stranger was in a car in front of my house was cause for alarm.
Small towns in particular are aware of the location of the church parsonage. Persons in a community know that donations are available from the church when there is an emergency or special circumstance. One year my husband was in charge of the ministerial association Christmas Fund, which gave donations whenever there was a need. His responsibility kept a steady stream of persons coming to the parsonage.
What ways have been effective where you live to handle persons who come to the parsonage seeking assistance?