CHRISTIAN HOUSE SITTERS
A Worldwide Christian House Sitting Ministry.
As articles appear in the press we will reproduce them here.
Home of Peace
Holy Trinity Church. Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire.
March 2017 news.
Rev Dr Ali Green
Each time I go on holiday I have a house sitter to care for pets and plants and the sitter gets a holiday, too, in lovely Bradford on Avon. A modest amount of money is generated from this scheme by the organizing charity, Christian House Sitters, run by Ray and Marilyn White. All the funds raised go to a very special family in Kenya.
A Caring Home
This is the Home of Peace, an interdenominational children's home in which a dedicated team looks after 53 children. The staff of 14 includes the Manager, the Administrator and a Qualified Social Worker. They are overseen by Marilyn on a daily basis. Ray and Marilyn are responsible for all the financial needs of the Home of Peace and oversee the work, monitoring where every penny is spent, under the UK Registered Charity TLC Children's Trust, and are closely monitored by the Trustees.
Many of the youngsters' parents have died from AIDS, typhoid, malaria or other diseases and as a result they were left homeless and to had fend for themselves because their home village was too poor to take on an extra hungry child. Some children, as young as three or four years old, were taken from their tiny villages in the bush and dumped in the town of Siaya because the family could no longer look after them. Once in Siaya they were simply left and had to beg or steal to survive.
Happy Feet: The children show off their new Christmas shoes.
Following a major storm last year the home had to undertake a major building project. This resulted in two new boys' dormitories, two staff bedrooms, a laundry, additional toilets and washing facilities, a new water storage tank and the conversion of a temporary dining room into a permanent structure.
Last Christmas the Home of Peace sent out an appeal to all members of Christian House Sitters and their response allowed the children to get new shoes and underwear and to celebrate Christmas with a special meal. Residents invited local boys and girls to join them for Christmas dinner. These were children who would otherwise not have had a special meal at Christmas.
Help for a Needy Family
A few weeks ago the Home of Peace Social Worker reported coming across a local household that captured her attention. She took a picture of their house and wrote: "It is a nuclear family with five children. Both parents are alive but are living from hand to mouth. My concern was the fourth born girl, ten years old. I was shocked. The mother said she has not been going to school because of lack of food. She seems weak and febrile.
Their homestead is a one-roomed thatched house with a small table sketchily structured at the centre of the room. Nothing to sit on, a papyrus mat spread at the corner as the family bed. They are indeed in abject poverty."
Home of Peace arranged some emergency food for the family and contacted Children's Services to see what else could be done.
Shortly after Christmas I received a message from Ray: "I am delighted to say that we have managed to sort out all the red tape and this young girl is now living safely at Home of Peace, getting nutritious meals, having good health care, getting an education and is happy. Her parents are also thrilled."
You can find out more about the Home of Peace and Christian House Sitters at www.Christian-housesitters.com
Rev Dr Ali Green
Please also visit www.TLC-Childrenstrust.org
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SIGHT MAGAZINE Australia. Published 6th July 2016
MY MISSION: A CHRISTIAN ALTERNATIVE TO FINDING A HOME AWAY FROM HOME (AND SUPPORTING CHILDREN IN KENYA AS YOU DO SO)
6th July, 2016
Ray and Marilyn White, former owners of a Christian counseling centre in the UK, didn't have the money to go on expensive holidays when they retired, meaning they had to find a way to do so - without paying full price.
Hearing about a house-sitting organisation which offered people the chance to look after someone's else's home while they were away, they registered and ended up living in a property in France for three months. While Dr White says it was a "wonderful experience", they did have times of loneliness and couldn't find a church. There were also some statues and other things left around the house which he says, as Christians, made them feel uncomfortable.
"Marilyn said that next time we should use a Christian organisation," the South-African born 69-year-old recalls. "So we searched and could not find one anywhere. Marilyn therefore suggested we start one, which we did, and the result is Christian House Sitters."
The organisation, which is based out of their home in Somerset, aims to bring together Christian home-owners and house-sitters by providing a website and email service which they can use to find each other.
"If you register as a home-owner, we help you find a house-sitter to move into your home while you are away on vacation," says Dr White, who has previously worked in business, for Youth For Christ and as a pastor, and who still, as well as writing books, runs an "active preaching ministry" and takes seminars on subjects such as stress management for church groups.
"(The house-sitter) will look after your home and pets for you free-of-charge and in return they receive a rent-free vacation in your home. So, as an owner you save money by not having to pay anyone to look after your home and pets. You also have the security of knowing that your home and pets are being looked after by a responsible Christian."
The benefits for those who register as house-sitters is also somewhat obvious - they "get to travel and stay rent-free in lovely homes all over the world rather than in expensive and, often characterless, hotel rooms".
People wanting to advertise their house will have its details, excluding the exact address, listed on a protected area of the organisation's website where registered would-be house-sitters can find them. All registered sitters are also emailed about the listing. Sitters can then register their interest with a particular property and their details are sent on to the home-owner. It's then up to the home-owner to make contact, check references and arrange the 'sit' (a draft agreement is provided on the website).
Dr White says he and his wife insist that all who apply must be a member of a Christian church.
"We then email the pastor of their church and say that they have registered with us and given him as a reference," he says. "We tell him that he can expect to be contacted by home-owners seeking a reference from him about these people. If he indicates that this is all satisfactory we register them. If they can't supply these details or if the pastor is not willing to vouch for them, membership is refused."
Properties listed range from apartments to large family houses with the length of time they are available anywhere from a week to a year, although between two to four weeks is more typical.
The profile of the house-sitters varies widely.
"We have families with children, single people, missionaries on furlough, ministers wanting a holiday that they can afford, retired people," Dr White says.
More than 1,000 people have registered on the site since it commenced and current members live in 15 countries, mostly in Europe but also including Australia and New Zealand, the US and Canada.
While home-owners pay no fee to register on the site, sitters pay £25 (or equivalent) a year. All of this money is used to support a Christian children's home in Kenya, The Home of Peace Children's Home,which Mrs White took over the responsibility for raising funds for in 2010 after the UK church which had supported the organisation decided they could no longer continue to do so.
The Whites have since set up a registered charity,the TLC Children's Trust,to raise funds for the home which is officially registered with the Kenyan Government.
Asked what they love most about running Christian House Sitters, Dr White says it's the connections they make all across the globe.
"We love getting email from people all over the world telling us how God has used Christian House Sitters to enable them to have a holiday that they really needed but could not afford. Knowing we have made a real difference gives us a thrill."
Article published in SIGHT MAGAZINE
Women Alive Magazine July 2015
Please scroll through this article using the scroll bar on the right.
Copy of article published in the Welsh Christian Newspaper Pobl Dewi June 2012
An article in the American Magazine Faith Filled Family Magazine on the 26th of January 2012
Ray White was born in South Africa. His wife, Marilyn, moved to
South Africa from England at eleven months of age. They now live in
England but they have seen the needs of the people in this region,
and their heart is to help Christian work in Africa.
Their organization, Christian House sitters enables them to support a children's home in Kenya with proceeds going towards this charity.
Faith Filled Family: How did you come up with the idea for Christian House Sitters?
Ray: When we retired, we had very little money as it had all gone into the work of the Christian Counseling Ministry so in order to be able to have a good vacation we needed to find an alternative to paying full price. We heard about a Secular House Sitting organization and registered and ended up in a house in France for 3 months. It was a wonderful experience but we found it a bit lonely as we knew nobody and could not find a church. Also the home owners who were not Christians left some statues and things around the house that made us feel uncomfortable. Marilyn said that the next time we should use a Christian organization so we searched and could not find one anywhere. Marilyn therefore suggested we start one which we did and the result is Christian House Sitters.
Faith Filled Family: It is my understanding that you two started this ministry on your own. Would you please explain what the CHS does?
Ray: We seek to help home owners and house sitters find each other. People can register as a Sitter, an Owner or as both. If you register as a home owner we help you to find a house sitter to move into your home while you are away on vacation. They will look after your home and pets for you free of charge and in return they receive a rent free vacation in your home. So as an owner you save money by not having to pay anyone to look after your home and pets. You also have the security of knowing that your home and pets are being looked after by a responsible Christian.
If you register as a house sitter you get to travel and stay rent-free in lovely homes all over the world rather than in expensive and often characterless hotel rooms.
How does this work in practice? When you register as an owner we list your house details (without the specific address) on the restricted section of our website that can only be viewed by registered sitters.
We also email all registered sitters drawing their attention to the listing.
Sitters then decide which houses they are interested in and click an enquiry button. That automatically sends the owners their details and their profile info. Then it is over to the owner to make contact and decide which application they like best, check references and arrange the sit.
Faith Filled Family How can someone sign up for either being as an owner or sitter?
Ray: It is really very easy. All they need to do is visit our website and click on the link to register. They will be asked for their name, the name of their church and minister and for some information about themselves. As long as they are members of a recognized Christian Church we will accept them as members. We also write to the named minister informing him or her that these members of the church have joined CHS.
Faith Filled Family: Can I be an owner and a sitter? What about paying, if I am both would I still pay the sitter fee?
Ray: You can register as a sitter, as an owner or as both. Registration as an owner is FREE. Registration as a Sitter is £25 per year.
Faith Filled Family: How does a sitter gain access to the houses available and the timetables?
Ray: When a sitter registers they select a password. This enables them to login to the members section of the website and see details of all available houses. From here they can also notify home owners of their interest in a house. Also whenever any new house is listed with us we send an email to all registered sitters giving them the details and reminding them that if they are interested they should login and contact the owner.
Faith Filled Family: What advice do you provide for both parties?
Ray: On the website we have a number of sections to help people. These include:
Tell Your Sitter, Advice to Sitters, Suggested Agreement and also more general info under "House Sitting Explained" and under FAQ
Faith Filled Family: How many countries has your ministry been extended into?
Ray: At the moment we have active members in Canada, USA, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Portugal, Spain, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
We are also looking into expanding into other areas as well.
Faith Filled Family: I would think this is a fluid ministry in that owners and sitters are changing. Is this true?
Ray: Yes and no. Many owners remain with us and use our service every time they have a vacation.
There is no limit on how often they can ask for a sitter. We also have many sitters who renew their membership every year. But naturally there are some owners and sitters who do not remain with us and there are also always new people joining.
Faith Filled Family: I understand that the benefits from the sitters' fee go towards a particular charity. Where does it go?
Ray 100% of this money goes to support homeless children at a Christian Children's Home in Kenya.
The cost of running the site is covered by us so all income goes to these needy children.
Faith Filled Family: Please explain how and why you chose your beneficiary?
Ray: When we first started we decided that we wanted to support Christian work in Africa because of our personal experience there. Initially this money went to a Christian Organization in South Africa.
Meanwhile our church had been helping a Children's Home in Kenya. For various reasons the church could no longer afford to continue this financial support and after much prayer we decided to take it on as our project. The work had not been run very efficiently in Kenya so Marilyn, who is experienced in business management, set up a strong accountability structure with herself as the leader. She appointed local Christians to run the home on a day-to-day basis under a local leadership team.
But all major decisions need to be approved by her and she also makes certain that the money is properly accounted for and used wisely. She has had contact with local officials and the home has been inspected by both the area Chief and the District Commissioner who expressed their delight in how well it is being run.
Faith Filled Family: The Home of Peace Children's Home in Kenya; how many children are cared for at the home?
Ray: This varies slightly but we normally have between 80 and 85 children who would otherwise be living on the streets, begging or stealing to stay alive. We provide them with accommodation, food, clothing, medical care and pay for their schooling. This is all done in a strong Christian atmosphere. As a result we are seeing lives transformed.
Faith Filled Family: You have explained that Home of Peace Children's Home in Kenya Is supported by the CHS. Does the ministry cover all expenses?
Ray: At this stage we are their only financial support. Over the past 12 months we have built them 2 toilet blocks (before this they had to use a field which we felt was not satisfactory), we have built a nursery room for the younger children, and we have got additional beds for the children. They now all have bedding and mosquito nets and we have been able to keep them in food, medicine and clothing. It is often really difficult and each time we send out money it is an adventure in faith asking God to supply but He has never failed. If we had additional funds we would love to improve the facilities, build some more dormitories, turn our temporary kitchen into a real kitchen, etc.
Faith Filled Family: If someone desires to donate to the Children's Home, how would they go about doing so?
Ray : They can do that from our site by clicking the donate button or by sponsoring a child. Full details are at
The following is an interview that appeared in the January 2012 edition of Woman Alive
I've become a house sitter
Sheila Jones (65) from Great Wyrley in the Midlands is a retired researcher and teacher in higher education, and currently an artist.
She worships at St Mark's and spent her summer house sitting for a couple in Beaconsfield. A few years ago, she joined a worldwide organisation called Christian House Sitters, whereby one looks after a house for anything from a week to several months. She has so far looked after properties in France, England and New Zealand. Sheila has two grown-up children and four grandsons.
She has been widowed for 30 years.
About five years ago, I was browsing the internet and wondering if there was an opportunity to house sit in New Zealand, when I came across www.christian-housesitters.com. It is not a house swap, although I could put my house on the website for someone to look after while I am sitting for someone else if I wanted to. It costs just £25 to sign up and it's a matter of seeing what
locations and properties fit in with the holiday time you have.
I went to France last year and New Zealand the year before that. The longest time I have spent away is nine months in New Zealand. This year, I stayed in England and went back to a lovely house in Beaconsfield, where I have been several
As a house sitter, you often have to look after the family pets. Sometimes it's cats or dogs, and this year it was also chickens. But in return, I had all the eggs!
It's an affordable way of seeing different parts of the country and visiting other parts of the world. I have enjoyed taking part in worship in other churches and it's lovely to come back and share those experiences.
I usually go on my own, but I have on occasions taken my son or daughter. However, it's important to let the owners know if there is more than one of you going, so they can get the rooms ready.
I would love to go to Canada, but although there have been houses that have come up from time to time, so far they haven't fitted in with my free time.
If you do house sit, make sure you are there before the owners leave. It enables you to meet them properly and know where things are.
One of the questions asked when you are linked up is whether you would like to be put in touch with one of the house owner's friends. I would say yes and I always try and go to their local church when I am there. It is always good to see how others worship.
Have a spirit of adventure. If you are retired, it helps you get out of the "retirement mindset".
Christians have keys to free worldwide lodging
Thursday, January 5, 2012 - Contemporary Christian Travel
by Ruth Hill
WASHINGTON, January 5, 2012 -
Are you a member in good standing of a Christian church anywhere in the world? If yes, you have the keys to free house stays and/or house and pet care while you are away. In a world of rising vacation and holiday travel expenses, this can be great news.
At non-profit Christian House Sitters (CHS), you can register as a house sitter - one who stays rent free in homes around the world and cares for pets and premises - or home owner - one who provides the premises and receives free caretaking - or both. Member registration in the sitter category costs 25 British pounds a year and all proceeds go to charity. Home owners register for free.
And there's more good news besides free vacation stays. CHS founders and managers Ray and Marilyn White donate all membership fees to the Home for Peace ministry in Kenya for orphaned children.
Why Kenya? The couple both have personal and ministry roots in Africa. Marilyn was born in England but grew up in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Ray also has roots in South Africa, where he grew up. Johannesburg is where they met and married. Now semi-retired in the UK (West Sussex), they manage CHS and continue other ministry endeavors. There's more about their professional backgrounds and hearts for the Kenyan children on the CHS website.
Ray and Marilyn founded CHS a few years ago after they did a two-month house sit in France. The Whites advise home owners how to qualify house sitters, but function primarily as a connection site for members who are connected to a recognized Christian church.
"We cannot guarantee to find you a house or a house sitter, but we can list details for people who choose to join the service," said Ray White. Privacy is also a hallmark of CHS. White said they do not disclose member information beyond what they receive for publication on the site. One house now on the CHS site is available in St. Antonin, France for three weeks in February. A German Shepherd and three goats come with the four-bedroom property. Houses in Australia, South Africa, England, Wales and Canada are looking for sitters.
Though CHS participation is pretty much on the honor system, the ministry has many satisfied members who have cut costs for their personal travel as either house sitters or home owners who rely on other members to care for their homes and pets while they are away.
"We live in a ranch style three bedroom house located in Tacoma, Washington and we have one cat," said John, a CHS home owner member. "We worry about leaving the house unoccupied when we vacation so on finding Ray's service we decided to give it a try.
"We contacted CHS one week last spring, and in a few days we had received applications from eight families who all wanted the house" he continued. "We chose a Canadian couple. The couple supplied us with two references from their local church fellowship and we checked them out. We then spoke with them a couple of times by telephone and agreed to the details. They did a magnificent job of looking after our home and our cat. We now consider them friends, and later this year we will again be contacting Ray for a sitter so we can go to Calgary and visit with our sitters, Helen and Roger."
CHS can be your new ticket to 2012 travel around the world. Check it out as a way to reduce travel expenses for trips around the world!
Read more of Ruth Hill's columns at Contemporary Christian Travel in the Washington Times Communities.
This article is the copywritten property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media.
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NOTE Reproduced with permission from Ruth Hill. Washington Times
Turning pew sitters into house sitters
Christian House Sitters is an international non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom that claims to match vacationing members of recognized Christian churches with other vacationing members of recognized Christian churches.
It provides home owners with reliable people to look after their homes and pets free of charge while they are away, and it provides house sitters with rent-free accommodations while they are on vacation.
The service is free for home owners and costs 20 pounds a year for sitters.
All income from the site goes towards supporting starving orphans in Kenya.
Article From Joy Magazine. January 2010
Article From Cathedral Connections. St Peter's London Ontario
Here is an extract from the above article
A UNIQUE ADVENTURE - HOUSESITTING IN MEDIEVAL ENGLAND
By Joyce Hilton
At some point we all think about a dream vacarion, especially one that costs little and allows you to enhance your love of Christianity and its history and architecture.
My dream vacation and journey began when I stumbled across a website that promised just that. It was called Christian House Sitters, an Internet based service that brought Christian home owners and Christian house sitters together.
Christians home owners who wanted to take a holiday and needed some one to look after their home and! or their pets while away could apply. The other side of the service accommodated persons who could not afford a holiday but would now be enabled to take a break and see other countries. Their only expense wouId be the cost of travel and their food.
It was totally Christian based and required everyone involved to have a reference from their church.
The registration cost was twenty dollars Canadian for the year which allowed me access to information about various properties in different countries that required a house sitter.
A couple in Norwich, England advertised for a sitter for three months. I was born in England and wanted to experience the atmosphere of its mediaeval history and churches. Norwich seemed like a perfect fit! It is a church enthusiast's paradise. It possesses more mediaeval churches than any other English City. There is an old saying in Norwich that there are 52 churches for every week of the year and 365 pubs for every day of the day. (My interest was in the former.)
In addition to its great cathedral and the ruins of three other buildings, there are thirty-one other parishes in Norwich that have survived.
I arrived in England in early January of this year and met my awesome hosts who were leaving in the next few days for New Zealand.
Before they left, they drove me to Great Yarmouth, a city on the east coast of England situated about fifty miles away. Along the way, we stopped to look at the ruins of a thirteenth century Augustinian Priory. Even though the walls had eroded to half their size and roofs had long disappeared, you sensed that this was once a holy place and the likely home of earlier saints. It was the first step in my quest to visit ancient holy places...............................................I left realizing that I was a part of a much larger faith community, one that transcends countries and history
Extract from an article in CHURCH TIMES dated 27th April 2007
Swap your way to a holiday
For an affordable holiday offering all the comforts of home, consider Christian house-swapping, suggests Rachel Harden
LAST YEAR, Ray White and his wife, Marilyn, decided they wanted to take an extended break from work. Financially, however, they were not in a position to fund a long holiday. House-sitting seemed an ideal solution.
"We had heard a lot about it. Looking on the internet, we found a whole range of sites. We picked an American website we liked the look of and signed up. We chose a house in France, where the owners were looking for sitters for a couple of months to care for the plants and various pets, including dogs and a cat. It was 45 minutes inland from La Rochelle, an area we wanted to explore. We contacted the owners, they liked the sound of us, and it was all set up."
Apart from the fact that the dogs needed more exercise than they had been warned, the Whites enjoyed their two months on the Continent.
But they came away thinking it could have been so different. "The owners knew absolutely nothing about us, we gave no references and no one checked if our personal details were correct. We could easily have rolled upwith a van and taken every-thing. We were also conscious, on the other hand, that we might have arrived to an entirely different set-up to the one described. In a sense, both parties wereopen to an abuse of trust."
On their return, the Whites decided to investigate whether there were any Christian house-sitting agencies. There weren 't. "I am a psychologist, and my wife and I work in stress management, but we were no longer working full-time so we thought: why not set one up?"This month, then, saw the launch of their Christian House Sitters. The site received 500 hits in the first week.The attraction of any house-sitting service, explains Ray, is that no money exchanges hands, and the use of the house and running expenses are free (apart from the telephone) in return for certain chores like pet-sitting or watering the plants.
The new service, overseen by the Whites, charges £20 per year for administration: once registered, clients - whether they are looking for a sitter or offering their services - have access to all the others on the list. A minimum of ten per cent of any income will go to support Unsung Heroes, a Christian charity in South Africa.
Apart from adding obvious safeguards - like not giving out email addresses until references have been checked - no one is accepted on the site without being a church member.
"We feel strongly that if people swap, they will also get a chance to swap a new church family while on holiday if they want to."
The couple are aware of the new Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs), which came into force this month, making it illegal to discriminate on grounds of sexuality. They do not ask invasive questions, but stress that after registration each client sorts out their own house-sitting arrangements. This is left to the discretion of the individual. Users are also encouraged to set up their own contract of agreement (the website contains suggestions), as the Whites make it clear that they are not liable if things go wrong
Ray White believes that house swapping and sitting will become increasingly popular with Christians, because of its lifestyle challenge. "Not only is the concept of sharing very biblical, but there is also that degree of trust that you may not have with other agencies. Of course, it, has the added attraction of freeing up funds which can be used for other things - maybe even giving some to charity."
Helping Christians have a Free Holiday
(Mon Oct 20 2008)
During this time of international financial crisis many people are finding it increasingly difficult to afford a holiday.
Research has clearly shown that during times of severe stress holidays can be more important than ever and can help prevent many stress related health problems.
Christian House Sitters provides a worldwide service to enable members of recognized Christian churches to enjoy a rent free holidays.
It also enables home owners to have a reliable person to look after their home and pets free of charge whilst they are away.
This can save both parties a great deal of money and therefore enable them to benefit form a much needed break that they may otherwise have been unable to afford.
This service has already helped many people from around the world and it is expected that as the credit crunch bites many more will benefit from this facility.