The Bishop’s E-pistle: Clergy Compensation Report

Church Pension Group released the 2020 Clergy Compensation report last week. This is an annual event, but this year the report is interactive and includes many more breakdowns than prior reports. I particularly encourage all Vestry members, search committee members, and other lay leaders in Arizona to look at the report, which you can find here. 

Across the Episcopal Church, median compensation for compensated clergy (full and part-time) is $78,799.  A gender gap of $10,000 persists nationally, though a number of dioceses have dramatically decreased it (check out Georgia) by making salaries transparent and standardized.   If you engage with the report, you can look at differences in compensation across congregational operating revenue, gender identity, race, sexuality, and other categories. 

Here in Arizona, salaries are comparatively low compared to similar dioceses in the Episcopal Church. Our median compensation for the 62 compensated clergy in our diocese is $63,311. Our gender gap is even larger than in TEC as a whole; the median compensation for female clergy here is $55,138 vs compensation of $67,375 for male clergy.  It’s not in the report, but our Diocesan Minimum salary of $48,900 is also comparatively low, and has not been raised in a number of years—nor does that minimum have any variation for size of the congregation, years of experience, or region of the diocese. 

We are working to change this, both because of the fundamental issues of justice-involved, and because pragmatically, Arizona cannot attract and retain clergy without it. 

In my three years as your bishop, we have made salary corrections in most of our diocesan-funded clergy positions and supported congregations who called clergy in offering more competitive salaries. My goals for the next three years would be to narrow or eliminate the gender pay gap; to have Convention pass a resolution to increase the diocesan minimum salary, and to work towards congregations offering set compensation for all candidates, rather than negotiating once a call has been made.  It is a good moment to be doing this work, with 17 congregations in the transition process.  This will also be a piece with the new medical benefits policy that is being completed by a task force. 

In my 19 years as a compensated clergyperson in the Episcopal Church, I have had years when I was very well-compensated (including now) and years when I was not well-compensated. I bear the scars of some excruciating salary negotiations with congregational leaders I loved. I also know what it is to be responsible for the finances of a congregation and struggle to fund all employee salaries to support the ministry we were called to do.  

But for now, please read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the CPG report.