Minimum Compensation for Supply Clergy

as of 11/01/21

The diocesan minimum compensation for supply clergy is $150 for officiating at one service on a Sunday and $180 for officiating at two services, plus reimbursement for travel at the IRS allowable rate (56¢ per mile, as of 01 Nov 2021) and any additional accountable, reimbursable business expenses. The compensation for supply clergy for funerals and weddings is $150, plus reimbursement for travel and other expenses.

Compensation will also be provided on a negotiated basis for services (such as pastoral care that involves extensive amounts of time on a Sunday or pre-marital counseling) over and above Sunday supply work. Minimum compensation for midweek “chapel” supply work is $75 per service, plus travel.

If a member of the clergy is supplying a congregation and is called to officiate at marriages or funerals, the minimum compensation for the service to be paid by the congregation to the member of the clergy is $150, plus travel. If the member of the clergy receives an honorarium from the persons being married or the family of the deceased, the member of the clergy gives the honorarium to the congregation, after endorsing the check (if the gift is in the form of a check). This honorarium is accounted for as a charitable contribution from the donor to the church.

At the discretion of the member of the clergy, a portion of the compensation can be declared as a housing allowance, provided that the declaration is a part of the vestry minutes of the congregation and substantiated by a fair rental value appraisal. For help with this declaration, please contact the diocesan office.

A separate check will be issued for mileage and other accountable, reimbursable business expenses.

At the end of each year the congregation is responsible for providing the member of the clergy a W-2 statement for all compensation as a result of supply work. For help in completing this form, please contact the diocesan office.

Relevant Pension Fund Requirements

excerpted from A Guide To Clergy Benefits, rev. August 2020.

Mandatory and Optional Participation

If (1) you are a deacon, priest, or bishop who is canonically resident in any diocese of the Episcopal Church, (2) your employer is subject to the authority of the Church (or is associated with the Church and has elected to participate in the Clergy Pension Plan), and (3) your employer is located in a domestic diocese of the Church, you must participate in the Clergy Pension Plan if you are

  • expected to be regularly employed (as explained below) for five or more consecutive months by the same employer, and
  • compensated by your employer.

You will be treated as regularly employed if you meet one of the following requirements:

  • You have a letter of agreement (or other contract of employment) with your employer
  • You are duly called to your position by your bishop, vestry, or rector
  • Your position has a formal title (for example, rector or priest-in-charge) indicating an ongoing substantial relationship with your employer
  • Your employer issues you a Form W-2 (or equivalent)
  • You are scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week

Please note: If you are expected to be employed for less than five consecutive months, but actually work for five or more consecutive months, your participation in the Clergy Pension Plan will be mandatory retroactive to your date of hire. If you would otherwise meet the criteria for mandatory participation except that you are expected to be employed for less than five consecutive months, you and your employer may choose to participate in the Clergy Pension Plan if you have a letter of agreement (or other contract of employment) that provides for the payment of Assessments on your behalf by your employer.

Working While Pensioned

If you are under age 72, retire under the Clergy Pension Plan, and work in the Episcopal Church in a position for which Assessments would be mandated, you may continue to receive your pension only if the following Working While Pensioned rules are met:

  • Your total compensation from Episcopal Church-related income does not exceed $41,700 during a 12-month period, effective January 1, 2022.
  • Temporary housing can consist of a cash housing allowance, utilities, and/or employer-provided housing that, in any case, is (1) expected to be provided for 24 months or less and (2) not your permanent residence or used toward your permanent residence. The value of temporary housing is excluded when determining whether your compensation is above the threshold.
  • You cannot work for the same employer from which you retired, regardless of the amount of compensation that you will receive.

If you do not meet all of these criteria, your pension benefits will be suspended, and you will be considered to have returned to active ministry. You may, however, apply for an exception to the rules so that you continue to receive your pension.

To discuss individual circumstances, please contact the bishop’s office.

Enrolling in Lay and Clergy Pension Plans

Pension plan enrollments are to be handled by the employer rather than through the diocesan office. Since January 1, 2018, the Church Pension Fund has required enrollments to be made via the online Employee Roster (ER). Persons authorized by the clergy or vestry to administer that church’s ER will enter employment data for each employee, the final step of which is enrollment in the appropriate Church Pension Fund plan. Contact Mary Janes Hodges at mjhodges@episcopalarkansas.org to set up the administrative officer(s) for your church’s online Employee Roster.