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Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Pensions - (a) 27Feb2007

I know few clergy who care much about pensions. At least not in the early years of ministry.

But towards the end of their service, these occupiers of tied cottages (even if some are like small mansions, with leaky roofs and windows) find themselves conscious of the need for care for them selves in retirement.

Clergy are frequently reminded that their housing is considered a sort of benefit in kind, and given a monetary value, making the sometimes rather meagre stipend appear much more generous. However, when it comes to retiring, even those clergy receiving the full 2/3 of final stipend as their pension, get only 2/3 of the paid stipend, not the 2/3 of the larger 'benefit in kind' figure. Many clergy find providing for their own housing - often starting a mortgage at the age of 65+ - hard to do. Especially those who, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, were told that they should sell their houses on coming into the ministry as the church would support them appropriately in retirement. I was amongst those, who, without better advise at that point, sold my house.

However, we are aware as a national church that what we might want to provide for our clergy, and what we can realistically expect churches to pay, need to be taken in balance. The motion before synod was finally passed un-amended.

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