Orginally published on Monday, April 27, 2009 at 7:07 AM
by Todd Rhoades
OK... so your church hires a new pastor and decides to pay him $600k a year. Granted, your a huge, historical church in a metro area. Your new pastor will receive an annual salary base of $250k per year, plus a housing allowance of $11,500 per month; pension and life insurance benefits; entertainment, travel and “professional development” expenses; an equity allowance for the future purchase of a home; money for a full-time maid; and private school tuition for his 3-year-old daughter. What in the world do you do? People in this large NYC church decided they had only one alternative: court.
More from the New York Times article:
Rick Stone, a longtime parishioner who served as pro bono lawyer for the petitioners, said Dr. Braxton’s package was roughly twice what his predecessor received.
“This is a huge amount of money to be paying at a time of such economic crisis,” said Diana Solomon-Glover, a 30-year parishioner, a member of the choir, and one of the plaintiffs. “But equally of concern is Dr. Braxton’s style of governance, which is highly secretive, and the direction he has been taking the church, toward a more fundamentalist brand of religion.”
Through a spokesman, Dr. Braxton declined to be interviewed.
Dr. Billy E. Jones, chairman of the Riverside Church Council, the executive board of congregants, said in a statement that the new pastor’s compensation was “in line with other religious leaders in Manhattan who minister to congregations of a similar size and scope.” Dr. Jones said the board had disclosed details of the pay package to the full congregation, but the dissidents dispute that.
Dr. Jones also said that Dr. Braxton was not given money for a full-time maid, and that the “private school tuition” amounted to the pastor’s daughter attending the church’s day school tuition free.
Experts on American churches said in interviews that Dr. Braxton’s compensation was well above average among pastors nationwide, but was within the range of packages for senior pastors of megachurches and what are known as mainline “tall steeple” churches in major cities.
QUESTION: What’s the solution here… or rather… IS there a solution here?
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