When clergy get laid off

tim ryan.jpg
A WSJ feature Monday about clergy facing unemployment led with two pastors who were laid off from the West Shore Evangelical Free Church in Mechanicsburg last year, including Tim Ryan (in photo) who’s now working as a carpenter.
The reporter attributed the trend to churches continuing to struggle with drops in donations and the long-term drop in attendance in many denominations:

In 2009, the government counted about 5,000 clergy looking for jobs, up from 3,000 in 2007 and 2,000 in 2005. Church staff are feeling the pinch, too. In an October survey, about one in five members of the interdenominational 3,000-member National Association of Church Business Administration said they had laid off staff amid the recession.

The story notes that churches aren’t subject to unemployment taxes, so laid-off employees can’t collect the benefits available to other workers. Some local churches have told me they’ve frozen their staff salaries and decided not to replace retiring or departing workers in order to make budget. How has your congregation’s staff or pastor been affected by the recession?

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One Response to When clergy get laid off

  1. Rev Ken McCoy says:

    I and the staff of our church voluntarily declined any salary increases this year as many in our congregation have either lost jobs or had salary freezes or cuts. We have also curtailed most non-essential building and improvement plans and are monitoring spending very closely.

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