Taking away the parsonage allowance will hurt my ministry

Religion News Service | 10/10/2017 | Staff
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(RNS) — A federal judge recently decided that clergy may no longer exclude housing expenses from their taxable income.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Friday (Oct. 6) handed a victory to a secular atheist group that has been challenging this favorable federal tax provision — known as the parsonage allowance — for the past six years.

Ruling - Breaks - Years - Precedent - Churches

The ruling breaks nearly 65 years of precedent and threatens churches across the country with nearly $1 billion in new taxes.

It will also have devastating effects on pastors like me. I am the senior pastor at Chicago Embassy Church in South Side, Chicago. I was born and raised in Chicago and first attended Chicago Embassy Church with my parents as a young child. When I was 17 years old, I became active in the church’s youth ministry where our church’s founder, Bishop Ed Peecher, took me under his wing.

Bishop - Ed - Mentorship - Statistics - Men

Because of Bishop Ed’s mentorship, I did not become one of the familiar statistics for African-American young men on the South Side. Rather, Bishop Ed trained me in the ministry, and I soon began preaching at the church.

At first, I split my time volunteering at the church with my career as a community organizer. I worked on then-state Sen. Barack Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. I helped lead Chicago’s “Rock the Vote” campaign and the field operation for a statewide initiative to improve public school funding in Illinois. I started my own public affairs firm that advances issues important to Chicago’s inner-city communities of color.

Call - Church - Pastor - Leadership - Business

But when the call came for me to become the church’s senior pastor, I turned over the day-to-day leadership of my business so that I could spend more time on my demanding pastoral duties.

As lead pastor, I both minister to our congregation and lead the community outreach ministries that have such a vital...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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