Monday, June 8, 2009

Other Votes at Synod Assembly

Minimum Salary Guidelines. Why is there always some pastor who probably makes a hell of lot more money than me who has to get up and complain that the guidelines are too high and he feels so sorry for the poor poor congregations and suggests we lower them? There's always one in every synod!. It was pointed out that our synod has the second lowest salaries in the region and we are one year behind cost of living raises. His motion to lower the guidelines was soundly defeated. Personally I think Minimum Guidelines are a joke. In my entire 24 years I have never been paid guidelines and the older I get the less likely I will come even close.

The Budget passed without discussion. I have NEVER been to an assembly where nit picking the budget was not the main event.

ANOTHER study - this one on "Justice for Women" that I think is making the rounds. I did not speak against it. I fear the women in this synod already view me with suspicion because I did not support a move to require 50% women clergy on the synod council (there just are not enough of us for that and I'd probably get stuck serving on it!).

I don't like this idea of dwelling on all the injustice for women. I think there's enough injustice in this country to go around and I don't think a study is particularly helpful. Particularly in family court with issues of custody and child support, I think we could use a little work on justice for men. I would like to see some time and effort to tackle the problem of human trafficking and sexual exploitation that involves children and minors of both sexes. And frankly I'm just tired of listening to white American women with $50 hair cuts, big houses, and computers whine about being "oppressed". You still live better than most women and men in most of the world so get over it. But it passed overwhelmingly.

May 12 - Day of Remembrance and Prayer for Immigration Reform There were two - one for our synod and one to memorialize the Churchwide Assembly to do the same. Passed unanimously.

Then I came home to face the Vacation Bible School kids!


  1. Someone in NW Wisconsin proposed that the synod recommend that all pastors have a salary freeze going into next year since the synod budget froze the salaries of the bishop and his assistants. It was headed to defeat until confusion led to the matter being ruled out of order on parliamentary process grounds (which was a good thing, IMO).

    I've always though that the guidelines should be mandatory, and those congregations that really can't afford them should have the rest subsidized by the church at large.

  2. I've always figured that if the church council were 10 people, and is a cross section of the congregation and if each of those people are thithing, then 1/10th of each tithe could be added together to make up the pastor's salary.
    Of course, that is unwieldly and not realistic. But it would mean that the pastor is paid like the people he/she serves live.

    But these days, the pastor might be one of the few in the congregation with a half-way decent pension plan and health plan, the way things are going with benefits. We do have to remember that the benefit package is a big part of the picture.

    Last year our pastor didn't get a raise and my husband was going to complain about that at the annual meeting, but, wisely, he talked to the council president before the meeting. The Pres said that the pastor had requested that the staff receive raises even if she didn't get a raise.

  3. This actually raises a question of polity: *Could* a synod assembly mandate a salary freeze for congregational pastors?

    The answer, of course, is no. It lacks any authority in the matter, just as it lacks the power to enforce its minimum guidelines. But it certainly could provide the cover for congregations already looking to stick it to their pastor.

  4. I agree with your critique of "women's oppression." Women in Afghanistan are oppressed by patriarchy; I'm not. (Occasionally annoyed, but not oppressed.)

  5. In the good ol' UMC, our "minimum salaries" are actually non-negotiable requirements based on our status. If I'm an ordained elder and the minimum salary is $38K, then my church has to pay that, plus the pension et al. My annual conference (equivalent of your Synod Assembly) actually has fairly high minimum salaries (even a licensed local pastor makes at least $32K), but that's partially due to a high cost of living in parts of our annual conference.