Methodists/Stipend

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Question
Dear Rev. Neal,

In some churches it is customary to give the priest or minister a certain amount of money (or stipend, I think it's called# when they perform a wedding or funeral. Is this done in United Methodist churches? And how much is considered a sufficient amount. We don't have a wedding or funeral coming up #that I know of but I'd like to be prepared.

Allen

Answer
It depends upon the size of the Church, but it is, indeed, done.  It will vary from person to person and from church to church, so it can be difficult to give you a basic guide on this question.  However, I can give you what has been normal in my congregations and for me.  Keep in mind, I'm the pastor of a small church (about 150 in worship on Sunday).

Weddings:

I charge NO fee to church members for weddings, but people usually give me an honorarium of $100 - 200 for the pre-wedding and wedding services.

For Non-Members I charge a minimum of $150.00 for the premarital counseling and $150.00 for the rehearsal and the wedding.

Funerals:

Again, i do not charge church members for funerals, however it is not unusual for the family to give me an honorarium in the $100 - $300, depending upon how much time is involved prior to the funeral in talking with the family, etc., and in the service (both church/chapel and graveside).  If the person who died is a church member, but none of the family are, that honorarium is sometimes higher.

For non-Church members, the Funeral Home usually arranges an honorarium for a chapel and graveside service, plus an informational meeting with the family.  That fee is usually $250.00, but can vary from funeral home to funeral home.  If the non-Church members have communicated with me directly, rather than contracted through a funeral home, my quoted honorarium is usually the same as the funeral home charges.

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Rev. Gregory S. Neal

Expertise

I can answer questions dealing with all issues of United Methodist Doctrine and Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. In particular I can answer questions dealing with the Sacraments and other liturgical and worship-oriented questions. I can also answer questions dealing with the form, structure, and organization of the United Methodist Church and our relationship with other denominations.

Experience

I am an ordained United Methodist Elder with more than 20 years of ministerial service experience in the local Church.

Organizations
I am a Clergy Member in Full Connection and have been a member of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1991. I am a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. I am also a member of the Emmaus Community, and am currently serving as Senior Spiritual Director for the Dallas Emmaus Community. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke in the United Methodist Church.

Publications
I have my own website: www.RevNeal.org.   I have written two books, "Grace Upon Grace" and "Seeking the Shepherd's Arms," both available at Amazon.com and in bookstores.

Education/Credentials
I have a BA in Religious Studies, History and Russian. I have an M.Div in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Sacramental Theology and New Testament.

Awards and Honors
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Fellow of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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