Retired Baptist Ministers Housing Organisation

Our History


Our History

The origins of the Retired Baptist Ministers Housing Organisation (RBMHO) can be found in a report produced for the Council of the Baptist Union (BU) in 1972. The Council had been sufficiently concerned about the issue of housing for ministers, both serving and retired, to ask an ad hoc committee to look into this and report back.

 At this time many ministers had no prospects of being able to buy their own home in retirement. Wages were low, rental properties scarce and it was not yet practice for wives to supplement the family income by going out to work. 

 Ministers could ask the local authority to house them but waiting lists were long and priority accorded to families with young children. Many ministers either worked beyond retirement age or relied on the goodwill of friends and family to make space for them in their houses.

The report the committee produced was in a number of sections dealing with different aspects of the housing of ministers. At the close of the report were various recommendations, notably that the Baptist Union should establish its own housing association for retired ministers.

Once it had been agreed that this was the way forward, Richard Fairbairn, solicitor to the Baptist Union, prepared a scheme for forming a Retired Baptist Ministers Housing Trust. Its purpose was five-fold; 

  • to manage the existing units of housing for retired ministers owned by the Baptist Union
  • to acquire and manage additional ones
  • to coordinate the existing schemes for assisting ministers to acquire their own retirement homes
  • To negotiate with the Baptist Men’s Movement Housing Association and similar bodies for the provision of housing for retired ministers and to raise monies to purchase more properties.

The Retired Baptists Ministers Housing trust became the Retired Baptist Ministers Housing Society (RBMHS) after it was found that the Register of Friendly Societies would not accept it being a trust but were willing for it to be known as a Society. Its registration was completed by December 1974 and the first Committee meeting was held on 18th February 1975 with Richard Fairbairn being appointed Chairman.In January 2019 RBMHS became RBMHO following registration with the Charity Commission. Previously RBMHS had been regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 - No. 21462R.

RBMHO is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) registered with the Charity Commission under charity number  1177649. Its purpose is to provide housing for retired ministers and their spouses who are unable to secure such from their own resources. The Organisation considers applications from ministers whose names are on the Accredited Lists of the Baptist Union and whose service has been for a period of not normally less than fifteen years, and from unaccredited minsters who have served acceptably in BU churches for a period not normally less than eighteen years. The rules of the Organisation  were also amended so that missionaries who had served the Baptist Missionary Society were qualified to become tenants. There is however sufficient flexibility built into the rules to permit the Management Committee to exercise discretion for exceptional cases. 

RBMHO also looks to come alongside those whose spouses die whilst in service and seeks to provide homes when these are needed.

In 1976, in it's report on the first full year of operation  RBMHS stated that it  held 51 housing units. The increase since then in the number of units owned by the Society has been steadily rising to meet demand until at the end of 2018  RBMHS owned over 250 properties in England, Scotland and Wales where ministers can live in secure retirement, for which they pay only a nominal rent.

So far the Organisation  has been able to provide housing for all who have qualified and is currently helping over 400 ministers and/or spouses with housing. 

The Organisation’s achievements are due to generous legacies, both financial and properties, and to equally generous donations made by individuals, churches and Associations over the years. Without such support the valuable work of RBMHO could not continue to be of service to those ministers retiring and needing homes for the later years.

RBMHO remains flexible and sensitive in the fulfilment of its purposes in helping to ease the worries and concerns of those approaching retirement without knowing where they will be able to live.

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