Clergy Compensation Guidelines

Minimum Clergy Compensation

The following are minimum clergy compensation guidelines, which went into effect July 1, 2015.  These guidelines factor in the COLA percentages published by the Social Security Administration during these intervening years (0% for 2010 and 2011, 3.6% for 2012, 1.7% for 2013, 1.5% for 2014, and 1.7% for 2015). While the vast majority of parishes have been diligent in keeping up with the cost of living increases in the interim, a few have gotten behind. As parishes make future plans, now is a good time to get these issues on the table so they can be addressed in the course of the new year. It is expected that those needing to do so will phase them in appropriately over time.

“Compensation” is constituted as the combination of all cash compensation, as defined below, and housing. The two combined represent the figure reported for the Diocesan Pension Fund and are the basis on which those premiums are computed. NOT included in that amount are “benefits” (pension premiums and health insurance) nor “church expenses” (travel reimbursement, continuing education, etc…):

A. Cash compensation:

salary, social security allowance, utilities/household allowances, and contributions to tax deferred plans.

B. Housing:

If a rectory is provided, it is defined to be worth 30% of the cash compensation reported above.

When a housing allowance is provided, it should be at least 30% of cash compensation and determined based on the actual cost of housing in your area.While experience is an important factor in determining appropriate compensation, the following guidelines are meant only to provide minimum values. The ranges adopted represent common practice in most churches today, where compensation is determined primarily by the size and complexity of the position. The leadership of a large, “corporate” size parish deserves a different level of compensation than that prevailing in a “family” size church.

Further, the most straightforward and broadly accepted way to rank churches according to complexity is by comparing average Sunday attendance (ASA) rather than membership and/or financial statistics. For those unsure of your ASA, please consult your annual parochial report. The number reported there should be the basis for determining which of the following salary ranges you should use to determine where you stand in comparison to the minimums.


As of July 2015

  • Family size congregation (ASA 0-50) Current Minimum: $51,634;    New Minimum:$56,022
  • Pastoral size congregation (ASA 51-150)  Current Minimum: $59,010;    New Minimum:$64,025
  • Small program size (ASA 151- 250)   Current Minimum: $66,386;     New Minimum:$72,028
  • Large program size (ASA 251-350)   Current Minimum: $73,767;     New Minimum:$80,037
  • Corporate size congregation (ASA 351+)  Current Minimum: $81,139    New Minimum: $88,035


Compensation for assistant clergy needs to be set on a case by case basis, since there is a difference, for instance, between a newly ordained curate and a senior associate. Skills and responsibilities also vary greatly. The minimum, in any case, will now be $56,022 for any clergy of the diocese with full time employmentThe diocesan Clergy Salary and Allowance Worksheet (see below) is suggested as an appropriate tool for determining both total compensation and cost of the position.

If you have questions regarding the new guidelines and their implementation, feel free to call either Canon Jim Lewis or Nancy Armstrong at the Diocesan House. We would be glad to assist you.

* Approved at Diocesan Council [2-10-15]