What gives? And why? Salaries for PB and other executives in The Episcopal Church.

The salaries for the Presiding Bishop and other executives of the Episcopal Church are posted online for our information. The big five are as follows:

"Presiding Bishop 291,832
Chief Financial Officer  235,448
Executive Officer  213,282
Chief Operating Officer 204,000
President, House of Deputies, Volunteer"

The designation of the PoHD as "volunteer" is really misleading. The PoHB is unpaid, not volunteer. That person may, among several persons, have volunteered to serve. These persons were then candidates for election. But the PoHD was elected by the House of Deputies. That distinction makes it not a matter of personal will alone, but community decision. 
A good deal of discussion has gone on regarding a resolution to pay the President of the House of Deputies (PoHD) a salary. The resolution (A028) if passed would require further determination of actual pay and benefits for the PoHD, but up to $900,000 has been earmarked for that from the three year budget proposed at General Convention.

The total paid out per year for the the four already paid, plus something like $250,000 to $300,000 for the PoHD, brings in the annual salaries of these five (if PoHD is funded) at roughly $1,200,000 per year. 

Leading up to the 2015 General Convention there was a study done to "re-vision" the church. While it can be argued that the current Presiding Bishop has re-visioned the Episcopal Church as "a branch of the Jesus Movement," the more prosaic re-visioning has not been as dramatic.  This resolution expands the number of paid chief executive officers soon after the effort was made to reduce the bureaucratic bloat. 

Perhaps a better way to approach the issue of appropriate payment for the DFMS chief officers would be to have a line item for paying chief corporate officers, and let the Executive Council,as the Board of Directors, determine how to use the funds.

From out here in the small town on the bay, by the big water, I fail to see just why the Presiding Bishop ought to receive $290,000 a year or just why we need both an Executive Officer and a Chief Operating Officer, or why the rather sizeable support staff doesn't reduce the work load for the PoHD, thereby making the argument for paying the PoHD upwards to $300,000 a year a bit of a reach (that being the budgeted "outside figure" being proposed).

But I can say this: From here it may smell like the Episcopal Church, but it doesn't smell much like the Jesus Movement.


  1. I wonder...would you or any of us take on any of these roles for the compensation posted? Yet I am more concerned for the disparity in the fact that all but one of the officers of the non-profit corporation that makes up the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, aka The Episcopal Church are paid, are compensated for their time and talents. Which one is NOT? The President of the House of Deputies. Reimbursed for expenses yes, but not compensated. Such a glaring discrepancy needs to be addressed. If one of the officers of a non-profit are compensated, all should be. Just sayin'?!

  2. Consider the work, responsibility, high accountability and enormous investment of time of the PB. What would an equally responsible position pay in business? I work for a bank. Our CEO makes over $10 million. Three levels below him are still making over a million. Loving the poor does not mean our clergy should be living in poverty.
    These salaries are very modest for the responsibility and accountability demanded of them.

  3. I agree. And, the POHD should also be paid.

  4. If the PB is paid, then so should we pay the PHOD. Both need salaries comparable to bishops. If they are to be free to be leaders, then we need someone doing the administraive work, and someone focused on finances. We don't need both a CEO and a COO. Neither has as many people and programs reporting to them as I did when acting as Vice President of Academic Affairs at a small college. Joan Gundersen

  5. I think, though, that there is a conversation to be had. We have indeed considered and reconsidered the responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop, and said role as CEO of the DFMS, as well as President of the Executive Council. That conversation began back in the 1960's, I think; and perhaps even earlier as we moved from the Presiding Bishop being simply the senior in the House to an elected position. We have had wonderful service from the current and previous Presidents of Deputies, especially in representing the larger Church in struggling places. Still, we haven't had the thoughtful conversation about what should be the responsibilities of the President of Deputies outside Convention gathered; and what appropriate support for that position would be. That will certainly be happening in this Convention, and probably would be even without A028. I think, though, that conversation needs to be started. We don't need to exhaust it before making a decision, and I think we can make a decision this Convention. I just think we need to hear that discussed as we prepare to vote.

  6. How is it that more years than not the PB was a sitting diocesan bishop whose job was to PRESIDE over meetings of the House of Bishops, rather than be an executive. Have we made for the position more work, and should be on the same pay level as the President of the House of Deputies ($0) or perhaps partially subsidize a suffragan in the PB's diocese so he can do some travel away?

    1. Joan R. Gundersen14/6/18 2:47 AM

      The last bishop to retain diocesan duties as Presiding Bishop was Henry St. George Tucker of VA, and he had a suffragan bishop when he took on PB duties in 1939. In 1944 he resigned as diocesan and spent the last two years of his term as PB as the first full-time Presiding Bishop. The work had simply gotten to be too much, and he felt his diocese was not getting the attention it needed. Thus for the last 74 years we have had full-time bishops.

  7. I'd be interested in knowing how the compensation package for our full communion partners compare to ours; even more, if there are any admin or staff positions that could be shared among us, with the benefit of focusing and coordinating evangelism, church planting, and so on. I hope we are past the point of considering our full communion partners as competitors.

  8. From what I have been reading, the work load for the PHoD has increased to a pretty much full time position. So, to me the question is, has the role taken on too much and needs to be pared back, or if it has taken on what it needs and requires a full time commitment, then we need to pay the PHoD a salary to do the full time job. This is how the PB's role has grown, from being the most senior bishop of the House of Bishops leading meetings to becoming a role that requires a full time commitment.

    Otherwise it is only those who can afford to serve full time without a salary who will step up and serve. This is the question we face in our parishes too. At what point does a role transition from volunteer and do it when you can to a paid role that requires a full time commitment. Larger parishes pay salaries to people in various roles because they expect more time while smaller parishes rely more on volunteers to run things.

    What have been the experiences of the last several PHoD's? Have they done the job while also engaging in another job or do they do it full time? Are the only candidates who are stepping forward for the role those who are retired or independently wealthy and therefore don't need a salary in order to engage in a full time job?


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.