Monday, May 22, 2017

Pay for a Priest or a Building

From The Living Church-

In Bethel, Vermont, Christ Church cannot afford a full-time priest. But its buildings — an in-town church and parish hall, plus a historic church for summer use a few miles away in the countryside — are in good shape. So is the congregation’s record of giving thousands a year to the local food pantry and supporting other missions.

Christ Church’s priest, the Rev. Shelie Richardson, is a volunteer who works as a full-time insurance agent. That has freed much-needed cash for buildings and benevolence.

“It’s money we just wouldn’t have available if we were trying to pay for a salary, a reasonable retirement, and all the things that go along with being an employer,” said Nancy Wuttke, Christ Church’s senior warden.

In turning to volunteer clergy, Christ Church ranks among scores of Episcopal congregations exploring what becomes possible when the priest is not paid a penny. Such arrangements can have drawbacks and need careful structure, diocesan officials say. But they also open the door to new vitality, an invigorated laity, and what many regard as a heartening shift in congregational dynamics.

More here-

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