I don’t make a lot of money. In fact, I now make only 75% of what I was making in Atlanta in 1996, thirteen years ago. [That’s direct dollars – not “adjusted for inflation” dollars.]
But I get by. I have simplified my lifestyle. I have learned the difference between “I need” and “I want.”
This spring, the Missouri legislature was grappling with the state budget, and I said a couple of things to several people.
First, I would happily take a pay cut if it would save the jobs of people I work with. There are people in my office who have worked there for 20 years and still make only about $20k/year. Can you imagine?!?! How in the world does a person support a family on that kind of pay??
Second, I heard about some states that were putting staff on “furlough” of 2-3 days a month – unpaid leave. I said I would go for that, if it would mean that people in support/clerical positions could keep their jobs.
In short, I was willing to make real and tangible sacrifices, if it would mean that our most low-paid staff could keep their jobs.
As it turned out, our state didn’t do layoffs or salary cuts. They just eliminated raises. But I was ready to do my part to protect the people who work hard, bringing little education to their positions, but do their jobs well.
I was thinking about all this when I learned that The Episcopal Church is firing about 37 of the 180 people working for our church.
Thanks to Elizabeth Kaeton for sending me this article from the Christian Century:
The full story is here.
Bishops in the United Methodist Church have voted themselves a pay cut after "recognizing the financial challenges facing the church."
The UMC's 50 active U.S. bishops voted to give up their planned pay raises for next year and instead reduce their salaries to the 2008 level, dropping their annual pay from $125,650 to $121,0130. according to United Methodist News Service.
"The current global crisis has uncovered our hesitancy to act, but it has also gifted us with a sense of urgency and an opportunity to lead courageously," the bishops said in a May 8 statement at the conclusion of their annual spring meeting. The bishops also said they will cut their semiannual council meetings from five days to four to save money.
Several bishops said that some regional and local church leaders had already taken similar salary cuts to help keep ministries going.
Tempted as I am to editorialize about TEC’s budget decision last week, I’m going to leave it lay where Jesus flung it. Let the reader understand.
Feel free to discuss this among yourselves.