Resolution #1: Nominal Payments to Nonstipendiary Deacons

Secretary of the Convention

Last Update: October 25th, 2021

Status 
The Convention took no action on this resolution on October 23rd, 2021.

Resolved, That the 172nd Convention of the Diocese of California declares it to be the policy of this diocese that all active vocational deacons shall be paid amounts sufficient to enable them to participate in programs offered by the Church Pension Fund;

Resolved, That this Convention requests that all congregations or organizations in the Diocese of California served by nonstipendiary vocational deacons pay such deacons a nominal honorarium of at least twenty-five dollars ($25) per month during fiscal year 2022 and make the corresponding contribution to the Church Pension Fund of eighteen percent (18%); and

Resolved, That beginning in fiscal year 2023, every congregation or organization served by a nonstipendiary vocational deacon, excepting deacons listed as retired in the parochial report, shall pay such deacon a nominal honorarium of at least twenty-five dollars ($25) per month and make the corresponding contribution to the Church Pension Fund of eighteen percent (18%).

Explanation

Vocational deacons in the Diocese of California usually serve in their parish and diocesan positions as volunteer clergy without remuneration. The Church Pension Fund provides resources for clergy and lay employees of churches in the Episcopal Church. One of the resources is CREDO, a wellness resource, that helps both active and retired clergy pension plan participants by presenting a holistic approach to wellness for mind, body, spirit, and heart. Participants examine and evaluate their health and wellness from the spiritual, vocational, physical and emotional health and financial points of view. The Church Pension Fund also provides pension and retirement savings plans, health benefits, and educational services. These resources are not available to deacons who are not enrolled in the Church Pension Fund.  At recent conferences, representatives of the Church Pension Fund have stated that if deacons were paid a nominal amount, the deacons would be eligible for these services. This resolution asks that congregations make such a nominal payment of $25 per month to vocational deacons, as well as a payment of 18% ($4.50) to the Church Pension Fund, to enable them to participate in the programs and services available through the Church Pension Fund.

The resolution is not in any way intended to suggest that the proposed payments adequately compensate deacons for the work they do.  The whole point is to give deacons access to Church Pension Fund resources.  Payments must be nominal to preserve deacons’ volunteer status and avoid having California and local minimum wage laws applied to them.  Although the suggested amount is a minimum, it is recommended that congregations not pay more than $35 per month plus pension without first consulting with the Chancellor.

This resolution would not apply to deacons whose work for the church already provides for a stipend and contributions to the pension fund.

This resolution is similar to resolutions passed by the Dioceses of Vermont and New York.

Submitted by
The Rev. Jon Owens

Endorsed by
The Ven. Cn. Nina Pickerrell
The Ven. Dorothy Jones
The Rev. Walter Ramsey
The Rev. Jennifer Nelson
The Rev. Jim Goss
The Rev. Phyllis Mannoogian
The Rev. Nancy Pennekamp
The Rev. Ari Wolfe
Rebekah Hays Estera
The Rev. Kate Salinaro
The Rev. Margaret Deeths
The Rev. Margaret Mary Staller