January 2008
Vestry Meetings

Per your request

I recently received a phone call from a rector seeking information about what to pay her staff. She was interested in comparisons with other congregations which were similar in size and budget across the country. She said that she had contacted The Church Pension Group and other offices at the Church Center but was unable to find the numbers she had in mind. 

I told her that the Episcopal Church Foundation had not done any research in this particular area. However, I decided to put on my MBA hat and approach this question as a business woman in any small company. I suggested she explore the wages of secular support staff as determined by the job market in her area. I also suggested she inquire at other Episcopal churches in her area, similarly sized congregations of other denominations and her diocese. In addition, she should investigate small businesses that were not church related but required some of the same skill sets. For instance, doctors offices, day care centers, florists, funeral homes, etc.

Here are some suggested questions for comparison with secular businesses:

  • Size of plant for cleaning purposes (compare square footage);
  • Size of landscaped grounds that are maintained with greenery and need a gardener;
  • Skills needed by a secretary (computers, accounting, volunteer coordination, etc.);
  • Specialized knowledge (i.e., Episcopal Church familiarity) and how that equates to specialized knowledge in other fields. There are times in the life of the church when we must approach the concerns from a business point of view. I hope this inquiry and approach to the issue provides some grist-for-the-mill for you and your vestry when considering the business of the vestry.

Antoinette (Toni) Daniels was the Director of Learning and Leadership for the Episcopal Church Foundation.

This article is part of the January 2008 Vestry Papers issue on Vestry Meetings