Clergy pay differentials

I don't know if this is the right board for this....

On the thread about C of E clergy numbers, part of the discussion has turned to clergy pay/stipends:
I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.

🤣🤣 God bless your naïvete.

Salaries for senior clergy 2019-20
Archbishop of Canterbury 83,400
Archbishop of York 71470
Bishop of London 65,510
Diocesan bishops 45,270
Suffragan bishops 36,930
Deans 36,930
Archdeacons 36,100
Residentiary canons 30,518

Parish clergy
* National Minimum Stipend 24,770
* National Stipend Benchmark 26,470
Resettlement grant 2,477

* in 2018-19 these figures were £24,280 and £25,950. The lowest figure across the dioceses was Hereford at £25,350; Oxford was highest at £26,877.

In short, the average stipend for an incumbent is just 30.7% of that for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Granted the differential is much less than, say, that between someone on a checkout and the CEO of Tesco but it's still hefty.

It seems to me that this deserves a thread of its own. In the C of E, broadly speaking all clergy get the same stipend, although "senior" clergy (as outlined above) get more than "ordinary" parish clergy. Part of the issue here is about whether such "pay increases" for senior clergy is right.

In the Anglian province of Canada, a slightly different arrangement exists, whereby your stipend levels are linked to how many years you have been ordained. Thus, a priest of 25 years experience will get more than one with 3 years. On the surface, this could appear more just than the C of E system where two priests of wildly different levels of experience would be paid the same. Surely experience should count for something, shouldn't it?

There is a problem, though. As parishes have to pay for their clergy, there is a financial incentive for a parish to opt for a less experienced (ie cheaper) priest when making appointments. In a world where parish finances are getting ever tighter, the chances are that such considerations will have even greater weight. I have certainly known of a number of parishes which have preferred to "go cheap". The danger, as I see it, is that dioceses get a preponderance of inexperienced clergy, thus lacking the people who might have essential kinds of experience and skills. But why should a parish have to foot the bill in order to ensure that the diocese has a good balance between newly-ordained and "been round the block a few times" clergy?

Comments

  • In the CofE you can be an incumbent for 40 years and still get paid the same as a vicar in their 20s in their first post.
  • In the Anglian province of Canada, a slightly different arrangement exists, whereby your stipend levels are linked to how many years you have been ordained. Thus, a priest of 25 years experience will get more than one with 3 years. On the surface, this could appear more just than the C of E system where two priests of wildly different levels of experience would be paid the same. Surely experience should count for something, shouldn't it?

    There is a problem, though. As parishes have to pay for their clergy, there is a financial incentive for a parish to opt for a less experienced (ie cheaper) priest when making appointments. In a world where parish finances are getting ever tighter, the chances are that such considerations will have even greater weight. I have certainly known of a number of parishes which have preferred to "go cheap". The danger, as I see it, is that dioceses get a preponderance of inexperienced clergy, thus lacking the people who might have essential kinds of experience and skills. But why should a parish have to foot the bill in order to ensure that the diocese has a good balance between newly-ordained and "been round the block a few times" clergy?

    This depends on the diocese in Canada. Some use years of ordination; some use a system of rating the "complexity" of the post; some seem to use arcane methods of reading chicken entrails.

    In one diocese where stipends were tied to years of ordination, there was an equalization payment that all parishes paid into a common pot. Grants from this common pot could then be used to subsidize the stipend of a more experienced cleric in a less prosperous parish if that parish needed someone with more skill/experience than it could afford. I don't know if that diocese still has equalization payments and grants. My experience there was 20 years ago.
  • We had a thing called “district scale” that resulted in the same issues. It meant, among other things, that parishes might look askance at you if you tried to get an advanced degree.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited February 7
    In my tribe, there are no stipends as such. Clergy are paid by the church they serve; one of the questions asked the congregation at the installation of a pastor or associate pastor is “Do we promise to pay [her/him] fairly and provide for [her/his] welfare as [she/he] works among us; . . . ?” Every presbytery sets minimum compensation standards; the actual compensation is initially negotiated by the minister and congregation at the time the minister is called by the church, but it must at least meet the minimum set by presbytery.

    Similarly, there are minimum compensation standards for ministers serving in supply or other non-installed roles.

  • john holdingjohn holding Ecclesiantics Host, Mystery Worshipper Host
    In the Diocese of Ottawa, parishes pay into a pool, and clergy are paid out of the pool so there is no direct link at all between what clergy are paid and what parishes pay for them. This was a reform 5-10 years ago. Here, as well, the salary (and it is clearly called a salary, not a stipend) for a newly ordained stipendiary deacon is adjusted to take account of pre-ordination experience or qualifications -- which means that precious few get only that. There is a yearly cost-of -living adjustment to the scale. As well, clergy advance on the scale, though I don't know at what intervals, whether annually, or less frequently.
  • Thanks, @john holding . That's a really interesting development in Ottawa.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Not just interesting but worth close examination in other dioceses.
  • In one diocese where stipends were tied to years of ordination, there was an equalization payment that all parishes paid into a common pot. Grants from this common pot could then be used to subsidize the stipend of a more experienced cleric in a less prosperous parish if that parish needed someone with more skill/experience than it could afford. I don't know if that diocese still has equalization payments and grants. My experience there was 20 years ago.

    Thanks for this. That seems a sensible solution. I hope it is still in existence.
    In the Diocese of Ottawa, parishes pay into a pool, and clergy are paid out of the pool so there is no direct link at all between what clergy are paid and what parishes pay for them. This was a reform 5-10 years ago.

    That also seems a good solution, although I guess there needs to be careful negotiation about the formula for how much a parish contributes to the pool.



  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I posted this on the clergy shortage thread, but it seems equally germane here.

    The Church of England is inconsistent about stipends (and pensions). One theory is that it’s simply a “living allowance” to enable a person to fulfil their office without undue anxiety about finance. A problem with this idea is that there’s no differentiation for circumstances. A single clergy person is probably OK. A clergyperson with a non-earning spouse and two or three children is being paid at a level at which the government considers the income needs topping up with tax credits. This means, by implication, the ‘allowance for living’ is inadequate.

    On the other hand hierarchy are paid more on the basis that they have greater responsibility (different theory based on ‘the labourer is worthy of his/her hire’). But it’s not really clear to most parochial clergy that, for example, an archdeacon’s role is necessarily more demanding than a parish priest’s. And the idea that every parochial post is equal in demand and responsibility to every other (which is the implication of the stipend for parochial clergy) is an evident fiction.

    The C of E pension scheme is non contributory for clergy. Certain roles attract a higher level of pension. Basically what you get is calculated on the church’s National Minimum Stipend moderated by how many years of service the person retiring has. But there is an uplift for those in the hierarchy: Archbishops of Canterbury and York x 2;Bishop of London x 1.8; other diocesan bishops x 1.5; suffragan bishops, deans, provosts and archdeacons x 1.25.

    So the answer to the question why clergy are paid the same however demanding their parish is that the stipend is “an allowance for living”. The answer to the question why the hierarchy get paid more is that ‘the labourer is worthy of his/her hire’
  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    In the CofE you can be an incumbent for 40 years and still get paid the same as a vicar in their 20s in their first post.

    Yes, but that’s because it’s a stipend and not a salary.
  • In the CofS all ministers get the same stipend after the first five years (during which it rises incrementally). This is regardless of that the charge is asked to contribute to the national pot. I remember being at a conference with clergy from the PC(USA) who were blown away by this news, as one of them commented that they had rarely known a minister called from one church to another with a lower stipend!

    Questions are raised about some ministers who have been appointed to jobs in central offices who are given a salary substantially higher than national stipend (and than stipend plus housing allowance, since they have oxide housing for themselves). The larger question just sailing over the horizon is how to keep affording to pay the current level of stipend - traditionally more or less in line with the pay of teachers - when the amount coming in from many congregations is falling. That amount is levied on a proportion of the three year average of the congregation’s income.
  • I've been surprised by how high Church of Scotland stipends are, given that (as in the CofE) housing, council tax, water and sewerage are all paid for. The "package" is a lot more generous than teachers receive, even if the headline monetary value is now somewhat less.

    That said, the Kirk doesn't have so much of an issue affording ministers as it does finding ministers to fill posts. If all its vacant posts were filled then it might have a financial problem, but there's no risk of that just now (and given the barriers put in the way of ministers from, say, PCUSA wanting to take up posts in Scotland you have to wonder if that's intentional).
  • I've been surprised by how high Church of Scotland stipends are, given that (as in the CofE) housing, council tax, water and sewerage are all paid for. The "package" is a lot more generous than teachers receive, even if the headline monetary value is now somewhat less.

    That said, the Kirk doesn't have so much of an issue affording ministers as it does finding ministers to fill posts. If all its vacant posts were filled then it might have a financial problem, but there's no risk of that just now (and given the barriers put in the way of ministers from, say, PCUSA wanting to take up posts in Scotland you have to wonder if that's intentional).
    No risk of filling all listed, no, but the financial problem is real and current as was outlined in a letter sent a week or two ago from the chief officer. If you haven’t seen it, PM me and I can probably dog it our and send it.
  • Cathscats wrote: »
    I've been surprised by how high Church of Scotland stipends are, given that (as in the CofE) housing, council tax, water and sewerage are all paid for. The "package" is a lot more generous than teachers receive, even if the headline monetary value is now somewhat less.

    That said, the Kirk doesn't have so much of an issue affording ministers as it does finding ministers to fill posts. If all its vacant posts were filled then it might have a financial problem, but there's no risk of that just now (and given the barriers put in the way of ministers from, say, PCUSA wanting to take up posts in Scotland you have to wonder if that's intentional).
    No risk of filling all listed, no, but the financial problem is real and current as was outlined in a letter sent a week or two ago from the chief officer. If you haven’t seen it, PM me and I can probably dog it our and send it.

    I'll take your word for it - I asked the question about the Presbytery plan as to the imperatives behind creating more linkages and was told is was driven by recruitment rather than finance but I'm happy to concede that this obscures a financial issue at national level.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I seem to think that the guideline is that a full-time minister with no seniority gets $36,000, and it should rise gently from that point. However, many of our churches do not have the membership to get a '1' in the clergy allocation column, so clergy are often part-time, or hold two small congregations together. Bishops are paid according to their seniority on the standard scale, but the diocese picks up their office expenses.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    edited February 13
    In the three NZ dioceses I've worked in all clergy except bishops are paid the same (as far as anyone knoweth). In OZ the pay was much better but that was because of the federal tax scheme, not the diocesan structures: there were many lurks and perks (car replacement, uniform replacement - with strict controls - etcetera that were legitimately worked out with the Tax Office).
  • OblatusOblatus Shipmate
    edited February 11
    In our parish in the Diocese of Michigan, we had a parishioner, a staffing/personnel professional in her job, who did an annual study toward recommending the rector's salary to the Vestry. The parish policy was that if possible, its clergy's salaries would keep up with those of specific positions in the local public school district and benefit from those union-bargained contract salary levels. So the rector was compared to a high-school principal IIRC. The numbers from the study were compared with those of the diocesan minimum salary chart (which has increases every year) to make sure we aligned with that. In some bad times we weren't able to meet the resulting salary but made up for that later.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited February 12
    Zappa's on the right path at least as far Sydney is concerned. Each year, St Andrew's House sends around what are "suggested" salary scales - suggested is the term used, but parishes follow what is set out. Some may pay a slight increase on that.
  • I've just seen an advert for a new Archdeacon in the Diocese adjacent to ours. It states, "Archdeacons receive a stipend set by the Representative Body of the Church in
    Wales at 153% of an incumbent’s stipend (Archdeacon’s Stipend - £38,805 in 2021),
    and pension entitlements based on a non-contributory final salary scheme". I don't think my denomination works in this way although, as churches which aren't supported by Home Mission funding are free to set their own stipend levels, some Ministers receive significantly above the norm.
  • I've just seen an advert for a new Archdeacon in the Diocese adjacent to ours. It states, "Archdeacons receive a stipend set by the Representative Body of the Church in
    Wales at 153% of an incumbent’s stipend (Archdeacon’s Stipend - £38,805 in 2021),
    and pension entitlements based on a non-contributory final salary scheme". I don't think my denomination works in this way although, as churches which aren't supported by Home Mission funding are free to set their own stipend levels, some Ministers receive significantly above the norm.

    I suppose I'm one of them (115% of standard stipend). In my weak defence I didn't ask for it as money wasn't discussed.

    There were rumours a while back of a Baptist Minister being paid around double the standard rate.

    Mind you pensions are now very contributory (8%) making up for the mess (sorry, omissions) of the past. Many of us will retire on around 30% less than expected given the closure of the in house scheme (based on years/stipend) and the move in 2011 to a contribution scheme.
  • I'm on standard stipend, have had more in the past. Once was because the church was Baptist/URC and they insisted on paying at the slightly higher URC rate, once was because the Manse was big and old and expensive to heat (we decided after a year or so that we didn't need the extra as my wife was earning a good salary).
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I've just seen an advert for a new Archdeacon in the Diocese adjacent to ours. It states, "Archdeacons receive a stipend set by the Representative Body of the Church in
    Wales at 153% of an incumbent’s stipend (Archdeacon’s Stipend - £38,805 in 2021),
    and pension entitlements based on a non-contributory final salary scheme". I don't think my denomination works in this way although, as churches which aren't supported by Home Mission funding are free to set their own stipend levels, some Ministers receive significantly above the norm.

    Bloody hell ... can I shift my gaiters?
  • I've just seen an advert for a new Archdeacon in the Diocese adjacent to ours. It states, "Archdeacons receive a stipend set by the Representative Body of the Church in
    Wales at 153% of an incumbent’s stipend (Archdeacon’s Stipend - £38,805 in 2021),
    and pension entitlements based on a non-contributory final salary scheme". I don't think my denomination works in this way although, as churches which aren't supported by Home Mission funding are free to set their own stipend levels, some Ministers receive significantly above the norm.

    I think this is the advert which asks, "Is there an Archdeacon in you?" Polite responses only...
  • Not on the Diocesan website, at any rate.
  • Rev per MinuteRev per Minute Shipmate
    edited February 15
    It was in the print edition of the Church Times, if this link to a Facebook post is accessible
  • Ah, I see!
  • NazianzusNazianzus Shipmate Posts: 16
    I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.

    🤣🤣 God bless your naïvete.

    Salaries for senior clergy 2019-20
    Archbishop of Canterbury 83,400
    Archbishop of York 71470
    Bishop of London 65,510
    Diocesan bishops 45,270
    Suffragan bishops 36,930
    Deans 36,930
    Archdeacons 36,100
    Residentiary canons 30,518

    Quick back of the envelope (Excel spreadsheet) calculation shows that levelling all 'senior' stipends to the benchmark would save enough money annually to fund 50 stipendiary posts (taking the very generous estimate that London/Southwark/Chelmsford use of £80k per stipendiary post per annum, to cover stipend, pension, housing, lifetime training, diocesan overheads etc). That's not insignificant, and doesn't take into account levelling of pensions, which is more difficult to calculate.
  • Nazianzus wrote: »
    I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.

    🤣🤣 God bless your naïvete.

    Salaries for senior clergy 2019-20
    Archbishop of Canterbury 83,400
    Archbishop of York 71470
    Bishop of London 65,510
    Diocesan bishops 45,270
    Suffragan bishops 36,930
    Deans 36,930
    Archdeacons 36,100
    Residentiary canons 30,518

    Quick back of the envelope (Excel spreadsheet) calculation shows that levelling all 'senior' stipends to the benchmark would save enough money annually to fund 50 stipendiary posts (taking the very generous estimate that London/Southwark/Chelmsford use of £80k per stipendiary post per annum, to cover stipend, pension, housing, lifetime training, diocesan overheads etc). That's not insignificant, and doesn't take into account levelling of pensions, which is more difficult to calculate.

    Which is a little more than one stipendiary post per diocese - hardly a major improvement?
  • Nazianzus wrote: »
    I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.

    🤣🤣 God bless your naïvete.

    Salaries for senior clergy 2019-20
    Archbishop of Canterbury 83,400
    Archbishop of York 71470
    Bishop of London 65,510
    Diocesan bishops 45,270
    Suffragan bishops 36,930
    Deans 36,930
    Archdeacons 36,100
    Residentiary canons 30,518

    Quick back of the envelope (Excel spreadsheet) calculation shows that levelling all 'senior' stipends to the benchmark would save enough money annually to fund 50 stipendiary posts (taking the very generous estimate that London/Southwark/Chelmsford use of £80k per stipendiary post per annum, to cover stipend, pension, housing, lifetime training, diocesan overheads etc). That's not insignificant, and doesn't take into account levelling of pensions, which is more difficult to calculate.

    Which is a little more than one stipendiary post per diocese - hardly a major improvement?

    It's a major improvement for the three villages in each diocese that get to have a priest for their benefice.
  • Plus it would be easy to stop filling all those suffragan/extra AD posts - that would be another 185 clergy freed up for parish ministry, in addition to saving on "senior" stipends, which would fund another 23.

    Straight away that is an extra 208 clergy - roughly 5 per diocese.
  • NazianzusNazianzus Shipmate Posts: 16

    Which is a little more than one stipendiary post per diocese - hardly a major improvement?

    Surely anything helps? What's the benefit of paying 'senior' clergy more money?
  • In the United Church of Canada, General Council sets a national minimum pay scale, which goes A to F. Congegations are free to pay more depending on their circumstances. One minister I knew insisted on $10/year as Additional Salary on principle.

    The church is abandoning manses/housing allowances and going to straight pay as they have become an income tax headache impossible to get right.
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