Organist’ s contract

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Comments

  • Puzzler wrote: »
    For some of us, the music is such a hugely important part of worship, but I suppose if you have no musical soul, like our incumbent, you can’t begin to understand where we are coming from.
    Sounds like he hasn't got a musical soul for your kind of music
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Puzzler wrote: »
    ...For some of us, the music is such a hugely important part of worship, but I suppose if you have no musical soul, like our incumbent, you can’t begin to understand where we are coming from.
    Indeed. Great music, particularly of the Anglican tradition, is how I approach Deity. It would be hideous to be deprived of that comfort.


  • Update. He has conceded that the choir may still robe, even though he won’t, but not process in behind the crucifer. The Cross will be already in place. I have no idea what the thinking behind this is.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    Update. He has conceded that the choir may still robe, even though he won’t, but not process in behind the crucifer. The Cross will be already in place. I have no idea what the thinking behind this is.

    Confused ? :naughty:
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    He's a jerk?
  • Yes. And Much More.
  • Views sought on the following.

    One of the local churches has lost the person who played for services and the incumbent is acting as follows:

    1. Has asked someone who has only been in the choir for 1 year to head up working group on finding a replacement. She has a degree but is painfully shy and lacks experience of church music.

    2. Has let it be known doesn't want to advertise widely on the grounds that it is "too expensive".

    3. Has stated he expects them to have a permanent person by September.

    There is no job description, no fixed remuneration, no list of required services, etc, etc, etc.

    Any other ticklers of the keys out there with thoughts?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    edited May 2019
    1. Tactfully suggest some suitably experienced people she might want to add to the working group, and the value of drawing on the experience of the RSCM
    2. Suggest she finds out what advertising might actually cost, and where it is worth advertising
    3. Draw on 1 and 2 above to produce an informed timetable. Remind the incumbent that s/he and the PCC are going to be entering into a legally binding contract with the person, so it’s important to get it right.

    IME a lot depends on where you are. Few churches are going to be offering something at a level that would cause someone to move into the area for. If you’re in a populous area, then there’s a better chance of there being someone around already within reasonable travelling distance. In less populous areas you’re less likely to strike lucky. An advert posted once may bring in no replies. A few months later the same advert may bring in quite a few.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    I agree with all that BroJames said.

    Most areas have local Organists associations where adverts can be placed free or at nominal charge online. Or maybe via the area RSCM newsletter? Word of mouth , to the right person?
  • I have no dog in this fight. But I'd be interested to know if the Incumbent has discussed the situation with the Wardens and PCC before coming to their decision on how to proceed. Also, whether the church is in a (financial) position to call a proper professional musician or is simply hoping to attract someone who would preside in a more - ahem - informal way.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Good points.
  • I've pointed out all of the above, and more.

    What concerns me is that the incumbent seems so prepared to "delegate" the whole thing to someone who is no position - their view, not just mine - to handle the situation. Particularly concerning since the person who has just left (appointed by the previous PP) was not an organist, not even a keyboard player, had little experience of choirs and just floundered for 7 years, and it strikes me that if the PPs route is followed this time then the same (or worse) is going to happen again.
  • Indeed. Shortly after I left my previous church the organist retired - he'd been there for many years. A committee was set up to appoint a successor, headed up by a lay deacon who is also a musician of considerable experience. That was the right thing to do although I'm not sure that they dug deep enough down into the question of "What sort of music do we want to have in this church?" before looking for a new organist. They do now have someone, but I have no knowledge of how things are going.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Or as in our place where the previous organist gave up the unequal struggle and has been replaced by existing church members: an organist who will play but is in poor health, and a pianist plus band of dubious professionalism.
    The priests announced he did not believe in paid posts, so there was no consultation about the way forward, and this is what we now have.
    Not to be recommended.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Puzzler wrote: »
    Or as in our place where the previous organist gave up the unequal struggle and has been replaced by existing church members: an organist who will play but is in poor health, and a pianist plus band of dubious professionalism.
    The priests announced he did not believe in paid posts, so there was no consultation about the way forward, and this is what we now have.
    Not to be recommended.

    If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. If you pay nothing ...

    Unless payment is love, and appreciation, and focussed (albeit Christ-focussed, if that makes sense) valuing of the musician's gifts. In which case you may get a musically uplifting servant of the gospel.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    @TheOrganist, two starter questions.

    Does the lady the incumbent has asked to sort this out want this role, or has it been dumped on her against her real wishes? and

    Have you any personal responsibility towards this church, or is it really just their business if they want to foul this up?
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    Actually the person the PP has put in charge acknowledgement that she has 'no position to handle the situation' and that she has sought advice are her greatest strengths. She has an assessment of her abilities that leaves her open and seeking the advice of others.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    @TheOrganist, two starter questions.

    Does the lady the incumbent has asked to sort this out want this role, or has it been dumped on her against her real wishes? and

    Have you any personal responsibility towards this church, or is it really just their business if they want to foul this up?

    No, she doesn't want it - it was dumped on her.

    Personal responsibility - no. But they are a near neighbour and we have shared services from time-to-time: at the moment that means me and my choir carry the load because they can't.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Surely she can refuse to be dumped on? Suggest someone more appropriate takes it on? throw it back to the Wardens/ PCC?
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Puzzler wrote: »
    The priests announced he did not believe in paid posts, so there was no consultation about the way forward, and this is what we now have.
    Not to be recommended.

    Does he receive a stipend?
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Of course. Humbug.
  • greenhousegreenhouse Shipmate
    One wonders if the aforementioned choir newcomer has been asked because there's previously been some sort of disagreement, and she's the only one who hasn't come out on one particular side. Or whether the incumbent sees her shyness and feels she's the only one who isn't going to put their own view forward too forcefully and not listen to others.
  • ZacchaeusZacchaeus Shipmate
    I wonder if this is hiding the fact that the church can no longer afford to pay. I know several churches in that position and one which only survives musically because the organist gives their time for free, as their offering to the church. Without that it would be the dreaded discs.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited May 2019
    No.

    Church is more than able to meet its Parish Share and pay the "recommended/requested" extra 10% sommon in most dioceses to cover any shortfall from parishes who can't/won't pay all (or any) of their Parish Share.

    The PP in question has a desire for music; wants proper communion hymns and anthems/ solo choir items which are appropriate for eucharistic services, but feels unsure how best to go about drawing up a list of requirements/ weeding through applicants.

    I can say that because put-upon choir member has 'fessed up to the PP that she has been picking my brains and suggested to PP that he contact me direct for help, which now he has done so I can deal with him direct. A simple case of lack of confidence and worry about the time it might involve in doing the leg work. Nice chap, seems to be on the side of the angels - he tried very hard not to show relief that someone was prepared to hold his hand!
  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    Mrs Andras is our organist - and an excellent musician - and gives her time and skill as her offering. Which, as it happens, is just what our retired - and lovely - Fr. B. does as well.

    But she does expect to be paid, and paid properly, for funerals, weddings and the like, though some undertakers (no, I won't call them Funeral Directors or any such other pompous title) seem to think that any reduction in their profits is a wicked sin.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Where we are, AFAICT, they just pass the fees directly on to the client as a disbursement.
  • One hopes so. I have heard unsubstantiated dark tales of FDs charging the clients fees even for ministers (and, presumably, musicians) who have decided to waive remuneration.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Andras wrote: »
    Mrs Andras is our organist - and an excellent musician - and gives her time and skill as her offering. Which, as it happens, is just what our retired - and lovely - Fr. B. does as well.

    But she does expect to be paid, and paid properly, for funerals, weddings and the like, though some undertakers (no, I won't call them Funeral Directors or any such other pompous title) seem to think that any reduction in their profits is a wicked sin
    .
    Why should that affect their profits? Isn't the musician's fee normally shown as a disbursement? Or is the practice different where you are?
  • One hopes so. I have heard unsubstantiated dark tales of FDs charging the clients fees even for ministers (and, presumably, musicians) who have decided to waive remuneration.

    Yep that's happened to me. I have never charged for a funeral and always tell the families to query the bill should such a fee appear. Even if it's a prepaid and the fee is there I ask that the fee be given to a charity of choice.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    In the C of E of course, the fee doesn't go to the minister anyway (unless he/she is retired, then they are entitled to a proportion of it). It goes to the diocese.
  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    Andras wrote: »
    Mrs Andras is our organist - and an excellent musician - and gives her time and skill as her offering. Which, as it happens, is just what our retired - and lovely - Fr. B. does as well.

    But she does expect to be paid, and paid properly, for funerals, weddings and the like, though some undertakers (no, I won't call them Funeral Directors or any such other pompous title) seem to think that any reduction in their profits is a wicked sin
    .
    Why should that affect their profits? Isn't the musician's fee normally shown as a disbursement? Or is the practice different where you are?

    Round here (Mid Wales) the undertakers have a nasty habit of providing only 'all-in' invoices, so paying the organist (or anyone else) properly does indeed dent their profit; and - take it from me - they really don't like being told to pay the going rate.

    In one case that I personally know of they actually went scouting round for anyone else who would be willing to bash out a couple of hymns on the cheap rather than use the proper organist (not Mrs. A. in this case) - and the incumbent let them.
  • Andras wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    Andras wrote: »
    Mrs Andras is our organist - and an excellent musician - and gives her time and skill as her offering. Which, as it happens, is just what our retired - and lovely - Fr. B. does as well.

    But she does expect to be paid, and paid properly, for funerals, weddings and the like, though some undertakers (no, I won't call them Funeral Directors or any such other pompous title) seem to think that any reduction in their profits is a wicked sin
    .
    Why should that affect their profits? Isn't the musician's fee normally shown as a disbursement? Or is the practice different where you are?

    Round here (Mid Wales) the undertakers have a nasty habit of providing only 'all-in' invoices, so paying the organist (or anyone else) properly does indeed dent their profit; and - take it from me - they really don't like being told to pay the going rate.

    In one case that I personally know of they actually went scouting round for anyone else who would be willing to bash out a couple of hymns on the cheap rather than use the proper organist (not Mrs. A. in this case) - and the incumbent let them.

    That is disgraceful. The organist should get someone to bring it up at a PCC meeting.
  • AndrasAndras Shipmate
    Andras wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    Andras wrote: »
    Mrs Andras is our organist - and an excellent musician - and gives her time and skill as her offering. Which, as it happens, is just what our retired - and lovely - Fr. B. does as well.

    But she does expect to be paid, and paid properly, for funerals, weddings and the like, though some undertakers (no, I won't call them Funeral Directors or any such other pompous title) seem to think that any reduction in their profits is a wicked sin
    .
    Why should that affect their profits? Isn't the musician's fee normally shown as a disbursement? Or is the practice different where you are?

    Round here (Mid Wales) the undertakers have a nasty habit of providing only 'all-in' invoices, so paying the organist (or anyone else) properly does indeed dent their profit; and - take it from me - they really don't like being told to pay the going rate.

    In one case that I personally know of they actually went scouting round for anyone else who would be willing to bash out a couple of hymns on the cheap rather than use the proper organist (not Mrs. A. in this case) - and the incumbent let them.

    That is disgraceful. The organist should get someone to bring it up at a PCC meeting.

    Agreed, but the organist concerned - as I say, not Mrs. A, who would certainly have had a thing or two to say it they'd tried it with her - is unwilling to rock the boat, so they've 'got away with it.'
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    One hopes so. I have heard unsubstantiated dark tales of FDs charging the clients fees even for ministers (and, presumably, musicians) who have decided to waive remuneration.
    D. used occasionally to waive his fees for funerals if the deceased was a friend, until he discovered that the undertaker would put it on his bill anyway, and pocket it if D. didn't.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    I always accept the undertakers fee as the organist. If the family are friends and fellow parishioners I donate it to whatever charity the final collection is for. With weddings I accept a fee for non-parishioners, but just ask for a bottle of wine from parishioners.
    I used to feel uncomfortable for accepting money for playing (I'm RC and we don't have organists contracts etc) and then I had to call out an emergency plumber!!
    So now I reckon £60 for at least an hour for an organist with a degree in music and 50 years experience is pretty good value. My PP agrees.
  • Yes, I reserve the right to waive my fee - for example one of my choir died two years ago and of course I wasn't going to charge a fee, ditto for the funeral of a much-loved Lay Reader. But it is my decision, not the PP's - and he charged full fees when my late-lamented died.
  • ZacchaeusZacchaeus Shipmate
    Piglet wrote: »
    One hopes so. I have heard unsubstantiated dark tales of FDs charging the clients fees even for ministers (and, presumably, musicians) who have decided to waive remuneration.
    D. used occasionally to waive his fees for funerals if the deceased was a friend, until he discovered that the undertaker would put it on his bill anyway, and pocket it if D. didn't.

    Our organist takes his fees for that reason and either gives them back to the family or to their choice of charity
  • ZacchaeusZacchaeus Shipmate
    Yes, I reserve the right to waive my fee - for example one of my choir died two years ago and of course I wasn't going to charge a fee, ditto for the funeral of a much-loved Lay Reader. But it is my decision, not the PP's - and he charged full fees when my late-lamented died.

    There are rules about waiving fees for occasional offices - my diocese say in case of hardship only.

    This is from the COfE website

    "The incumbent/priest in charge also has a right, after consulting the churchwardens of the parish, to waive any fee payable to the PCC “in a particular case”.

    The Archbishops’ Council’s advice is that the power to waive fees should only be exercised in cases of clear financial hardship. It is understandable that some clergy have been known to waive fees for those who are long-standing members of the congregation. The Council believes, however, that this practice should not be encouraged."

  • But this is about the fees to the PCC - any arrangement to an organist is quite separate.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    No, it's not the PCC. Most of the fees for occasional offices go to the diocese. That's why the hierarchy are so sniffy about anyone waiving them.

    The musician's fees are specific to the musician, who sets them and gets them. So it's up to him or her how much to charge and whether to do so.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Enoch wrote: »
    No, it's not the PCC. Most of the fees for occasional offices go to the diocese. That's why the hierarchy are so sniffy about anyone waiving them.
    I don’t think this is accurate. It looks to me as though where the parish is involved (so not, e.g., a crematorium funeral) more of the fee goes to the parish. The exception is a service-only funeral in church where the diocese gets £106, and the parish £89.
  • ZacchaeusZacchaeus Shipmate
    But this is about the fees to the PCC - any arrangement to an organist is quite separate.

    That's true, I was commenting on TheOrganist's comment about the parish priest charging fees for the funeral of his wife. Which he threw in at the end of a comment about him waiving his own fees in certain cases but that the PP didn't waive the churches fees for him.

    Trying to point out that the archbishop's council says the PP shouldn't waive fees for a congregation member but only in cases of genuine hardship
  • ZacchaeusZacchaeus Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    No, it's not the PCC. Most of the fees for occasional offices go to the diocese. That's why the hierarchy are so sniffy about anyone waiving them.
    I don’t think this is accurate. It looks to me as though where the parish is involved (so not, e.g., a crematorium funeral) more of the fee goes to the parish. The exception is a service-only funeral in church where the diocese gets £106, and the parish £89.


    The parish get a larger share when it involves the churchyard, as the fee involves an amount for the maintenance of the churchyard.
    Otherwise anything to do with the priest’s time, the diocese takes their cut, to pay for their costs in training and maintaining ministry. A bit like you pay the employer of a solicitor or accountant for their time, the employer is the provider of the services and takes the money and then pays the professional they employ. Which in the case of a parish priest is their stipend.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    No, it's not the PCC. Most of the fees for occasional offices go to the diocese. That's why the hierarchy are so sniffy about anyone waiving them.

    The musician's fees are specific to the musician, who sets them and gets them. So it's up to him or her how much to charge and whether to do so.

    In my neck of the woods organists funeral fees seem to be set by the local funeral directors. I am never asked what I expect to be paid, and they all pay £60 by some coincidence.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    The parish also gets a larger share for a wedding.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    Not funeral but wedding work: in one parish I worked for, a couple of times the bridal couple asked for their own organist to play at the wedding - maybe a friend. We had to explain to them that that was fine, but they would still have to pay our organist a fee, as they were, in effect, depriving her of her fee-paying job as de facto organist at the church.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Yes, I had that imposed on couples when I was a dean. But the cathedral was so butt-ugly we had very few weddings.
  • I was lucky in that I inherited in my contract something worked out by my predecessor: a couple or family may have their own organist to play so long as that person is a member of the RCO, and the fee is still payable to the church's own organist.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    In the past, most Undertakers were local, you sort of knew them, and they were usually more-or-less on the level. Here at least, the Undertakers seem to be part of multi-site chains who are there simply to make a profit off death. The favourite around my old parish was to charge $350 to bring a Bagpiper up from Phoenix then employ one of the two locals both of whom charge $150. Another was to charge $250 for the organist who also usually asked for $150. One time they charge a Minister's fee, and when the family told me about that (I usually do not ask a fee for funerals) the Undertaker got an earful. In the end I started telling families that all church related fees were to be handled through the parish office.
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