Further to our posts relating to parochial fees in the Church of England, here and here, readers will be interested in the following item from the Highlights of the meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, which took place on 15th and 16th April 2015 in Llandrindod Wells:
One of the recommendations of the Church in Wales Review was that as weddings and funerals are an integral part of a parish priest’s ministry, then no fee should be retained by the cleric in addition to the stipend.
A Working Group was established to review arrangements for parochial fees in the Church in Wales, and produced a report for the Representative Body. Following wide consultation, the RB proposed that from 2018, stipendiary clergy would be invited to voluntarily surrender fees, so that the income might be used by dioceses to support ministry. In return, those clergy would receive a fee allowance (£1600 at 2014 levels) in addition to stipend. It was the intention of the RB that any new arrangements should be ‘fair and workable for clergy, and workable and affordable for dioceses and the wider Church in Wales.’
Mr James Turner, Chairman of the RB, proposed the motion that the GB approve the core principle for the allocation of fee income, and invite further consultation with the Bench of Bishops and Diocesan Boards of Finance in order that a Bill be prepared to implement the proposed changes.
However, speakers expressed concerns about proceeding with the proposal, although they may agree with the theory. The Reverend Steven Bunting (Swansea and Brecon) said that, with a family, he couldn’t survive without the fees he earns from occasional offices. “Most clergy would be worse off — some clergy are having to rely on charity and payday loans.” Canon Steven Kirk (Llandaff) was concerned about the practical arrangements, which would provide an additional chore for church treasurers. Dan Priddy (St Davids) said “I can’t vote for a motion that would leave even one cleric worse off financially.” The Venerable Peggy Jackson (Llandaff) said she was shocked to hear that clergy are struggling financially. “If that is true, then stipends should be reviewed.”
When put, the motion was lost, with 48 votes against, 34 for, and 27 abstentions.”