Clergy should have same employment rights as other workers.

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Ulsterman, Nov 7, 2002.

  1. Ulsterman

    Ulsterman
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    Euro MPS voted for changes in British law yesterday to give the clergy the same employment rights as other workers.
    The European Parliament overwhelmingly backed the case of the Rev Ray Owen, who was unable to challenge his dismissal from his job because he is said to be "employed by God" under a 1912 law.
    Mr Owen complained to MEPs about his treatment when he lost his job as team rector in the parish of Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, in 1999. He says he was unfairly sacked, but as a clergyman he could not take his grievances to an industrial tribunal. He has received no stipend since, but is refusing to leave his rectory.
    The MEPs' resolution urged the Church of England to review the way it handled the "termination" of his office. MEPs also want the British Government to apply existing legal employment rights in full to the clergy.
    The vote has no legal force, but Mr Owen said: "I am greatly encouraged. I hope this will give a strong push to the UK Government to recognise the position of the clergy."

    http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/story.jsp?story=349963

    Should ministers have the same employment rights as others? If so, how does this balance with the "not greedy of filthy lucre" clause of 1 Tim 3:3?
     
  2. Ben W

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    We have to consider carefully how the modern church is to be run. The current system of a group of parishoners payng a weekly wage to a Pastor is not the way that the early church was run. The Early Church placed people in congregations as Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, Elders, Deacons, Evangalisats etc. The church as a whole drew on a pool of money given by the early saints so that there was no one amongst them that was in need (Acts 4:34-35). The Word Pastors comes up once in the New Testament. The Office of a Pastor is not defined in the way the churches use it today.

    The current church system is based on a model of Industrial Capatilism. Rather than the original system. The remnant of the church God intended need to get back to his values rather than those imposed by the world governments. If we want to run a modern church under the current system, yes Pastors as they are known are entitled to the same Government based rights as any other worker.

    The Churches that want to run in the system of the early church are entitled to run to the biblical model prescribed by God. Many of the Early Church ministers were in "Tent Maker" ministries such as the Apostle Paul. Drawing Payment from the bretheran did not make somebody in a higher position of leadership. The above listed offices of ministry should be utilising the pulpit at every opportunity. Not the same one Pastor preaching weekly. The Deacons should be visiting the sick and organising communion. Those gifted with the teaching ministry should get equal opportunity to teach the congregation.

    If we create a church based on Capatilism that is what we get. But the original early church is awakening again. If we go back to the Early Church System we will spark the biggest world wide revival known to man.
     
  3. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    It is worth noting that the person involved belongs to and "serves" in the Church of England. As the Church of England is part of the Royal bureaucracy, it is not unreasonable that Mr. Owen would seek the same protection as a employee of the Inland Revenue Service.

    However, for those of us who have never taken the Queen's (government's) shilling, it is quite a different matter. For us, the application of the EP ruling, on the face of it, would be a disaster.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    A labourer is worthy of his hire.

    In my early days of ministry, we got a bicycle, a parsonage and £5. weekly. There was no pension plan and no National Health. Medical doctors took care of us as their gift. We thought we were invincible and that we could live without two pence in our pocket.

    My first church in Canada paid $40.00 per week, supplied me with a car,,,,,a 1947 Pontiac...and a parsonage, all expenses paid. At this point Canada Pension had not come into place and old age security was at age 75.....about $70.00 monthly. Preachers who retired, took preaching engagements to keep them from the poor house.

    Thank God we have moved along from the old saying, "Lord, you keep him humble, and we'll keep him poor."

    I think some organizations have gone overboard on salaries in trying to keep up with the world, industry and comparable education, but I haven't seen many men refuse these offers.

    A minister has enough burdens in the work without having to trouble about how to pay bills, feed and clothe his family and having a house upon retirement. Pension plans have been put in place in most fellowships, and this is a good thing.

    It is well and good to compare the modern church with the founding church in Acts, but we do live in the 21st century.

    Cheers,

    Jim (retired, well compensated and praising my Lord)
     
  5. FearNot

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    Here in America we have sepperation of Church and State. The government can not tell a Church body who they can or can't hire. If someone is fired, and they think they were done so unfairly they can try to sue, but few cases that have a biblical base reason for firing them will get anywhere in the court system.

    In a country where the Church is in union with the government, then I guess one would have to accept their governing or find another way to serve God.

    I personally could not work in the situation that the government can come in and change whatever they want or tell me who I can or can't hire/fire.

    I am not a pastor, nor am I called to be. I do not think we should force the clergy to be penniless. There was a friend of mine who had a aunt who was a nun. She was skilled with accounting ability. She saved her church alot of money. She had a room with absolutely no airconditioning and had some minor health problems. She asked for them to get her a window a/c unit. They refused to get it for her. That shocked and disappointed the family. Here She saved the church thousands on thousands of dollars, and they wouldn't buy her a simple little a/c unit. If she was paid, anything at all, maybe she could have bought it herself.
     
  6. Deacon

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    Church ministers and Pastors have a unique legal position in the United States. The separation of church and state leaves a wide gulf open that many courts do not cross. Whatever a congregation decides regarding how they compensate and treat their own pastor is often acceptable to our law. They are considered employees of the congregation but are exempt from most laws that protect employees because of their religious role.
     
  7. Ben W

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    Jim, I loved hearing about how it was when you first set out as a minister. Few ministers ride bikes in Australia. It sounds like a great time.

    I am really concerned about how renumeration of church workers is getting out of hand. The leader of one of the largest Pentecostal churches is on a Salary of well over Half a Million, His justification for this is that he is the head of the organisation which is as large as Coles Myer, (A large retail Company). He states that he is taking a loss to run this church compared to what he would be getting as the CEO of a large firm.

    We are all well aware of those in ministry who seek after a Lear Jet and a fat Salary Package. Hollywood have made enough movies about false evangalists fleecing people to know what the publics perception of the church is.

    If a church chooses to employ a worker they should certainley look after them. As a social right. But my point is that Paul was the Apostle of the Church yet he made tents so that he would not be a burden to the church. How many of those who consider themselves to be modern day Apostles are working in Manufacturing to meet their financial needs? Yet Paul set this as his example.

    I think it is neccesaary to draw a comparison between the church in Acts and the modern system. The impression I get is that the church was ministered to by those with gifting in the areas of ministry. I dont think that the same person lead the sermon / study each weeek. I am worried that we have allowed the church to be based on an Industial Capatalist model. It has happened gradually over time.

    Industrial Capatalism breaks up the family unit and pushes people into a performance based life. The church has to work around this for sure, because that is the government imposed system. It does not mean that we have to accept it as the model to run our churches by. The church in Acts can be the norm. It takes carefull study and a willingness to look at removing "extras" starting with catholic added on theology and todays present Word of Faith, Prosperity Gospel.
     
  8. Jim1999

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    Perhaps, Ben, we should all give up the clergy and join the Plymouth Brethren, where there is no paid clergy.

    I have used my architectural training to pay my way in the past. I use it now to supplement my pensions. I have seen loads of young ministers driving school buses and the like just to serve a small church and raise a family.

    Things were different in New Testament times. It was Paul, the tent-maker, I believe, who reminded Timothy that a labourer is worthy of his hire.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    PS. Wife can confirm, I never asked what my wage wold be before taking a church or job.

    [ November 09, 2002, 08:18 PM: Message edited by: Jim1999 ]
     
  9. FearNot

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    What I see as a shame is that in many local churches there is such a lack of commitment by the flock the pastor has to work 40-60 hous a week and then can't afford to buy a house, or have time to work a second job.

    In most churches 10% of the people do 90% of the work, that is a shame, slothfulness is a sin. Our church bodies some how need to be motivated to get off their merits and do some of the work the pastor is forced into. I am thankful that my parents provided me with a service attitude when I was young by leading by example.

    If a pastor had the time to work elsewhere they would also be provided with a secondary ministry field that normally might be hard to get.
     

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