House-hunting clergy balance personal, ethical concerns

Housing arrangements run the gamut
The basketball hoop bends forward in front of the two-story house in Ashtabula, Ohio, where newly named Lutheran bishop Elizabeth Eaton raised two children, sent them to public schools and lived while she pastored a small church.

Leaving will be hard, but Eaton wants a house closer to her office as the Northeastern Ohio bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. And she wants to be closer to the church where her husband, Conrad Selnick, serves as pastor.

In addition, they want a home that makes the right impression because a bishop is, in theological terms, a servant of servants. Her lifestyle as the spiritual leader of a region that includes America’s poorest city is part of the church’s witness, she said.


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