Pay freeze for Church of England clergy as leaders feel the squeeze

Pay freeze for Church of England clergy as leaders feel the squeeze following pandemic shutdown

  • Stipends of all CofE clergy increased by zero per cent in their annual pay round
  • It means annual pay of the Archbishop of Canterbury will remain at £85,070 
  • Diocesan bishop will stick at £46,180, and stipend for parish vicar £27,000 

The Church of England has frozen its clergy’s pay amid growing financial pressure.

The stipends of all professional clergy – from the Archbishop of Canterbury down to junior curates – increased by zero per cent in their annual pay round.

It means that the annual pay of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will remain at £85,070 for the next year.

The annual pay of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will remain at £85,070 for the next year

It comes following major losses due to shrinking congregations and the pandemic. A shutdown of all churches, which began last spring, is estimated to have cost the CofE £150million

The salary of a diocesan bishop will stick at £46,180, and the benchmark stipend for a parish vicar will stay at £27,000. Church leaders have also warned that some areas are struggling to pay pensions and the costs of free clergy housing.

It comes following major losses due to shrinking congregations and the pandemic. A shutdown of all churches, which began last spring, is estimated to have cost the CofE £150million.

Cuts that have been considered in response have envisaged reducing the number of the Church of England’s historic parishes from 12,500 to around 9,000. If numbers of professional clergy are reduced in the same proportion, it would leave the CofE with fewer than 6,000 paid priests and vicars.

Clergy pay goes alongside rent-free housing, and water bills, council tax and other expenses are also paid by the Church.

An inquiry into clergy pay is expected to report this summer.

A document circulated to Synod members on its preliminary findings said that ‘some parishes and some dioceses are facing severe financial pressure, exacerbated by Covid-19, giving rise to a degree of concern about the cost and long-term financial sustainability of aspects of the package, particularly pensions and housing maintenance.’

It added: ‘These pressures may lead in some dioceses to a possible reduction in the number of stipendiary posts.’

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