Clergy Assignment to Vacant Cures
(These notes regarding the assignment of clergy to vacant cures describe the difference between Sunday Supply Priest, Priest- in-Charge, and Interim Rector as these positions are considered in the Diocese of Central Florida)
Sunday Supply Priest
The Vestry, with the advice and consent of the Office of the Bishop, selects a priest to be in the Parish on Sunday mornings for the purpose of celebrating the sacraments, preaching and perhaps teaching at regular scheduled services. In accordance with national canons (Title III, Canon 16, Section 2), clergy are required to be licensed by the Bishop if they serve for more than two months. It is understood that here will be no significant changes made in parish worship during the period of their ministry. The priest will have no further responsibility in the parish life.
Emergency needs, such as funerals, generally will be taken care of by neighboring clergy or the supply priest on call as needed.
Pastoral needs (hospital, etc.) are taken care of by lay persons in the parish, with some supervision through appropriate Vestry Commissions.
Use of Sunday Supply Priest assumes a fairly small congregation that is free from significant conflict, has reasonably strong leadership and no unusual issues coming out of the prior clergy ministry.
The Priest-in-Charge model is often most appropriate in a congregation whose size and ministry that will require a clergy presence and involvement beyond the Sunday supply level. It might be full-time or contracted for a certain number of days per week. It is also assumed that the parish has strong Vestry and lay leadership with little apparent conflict present.
The Priest-in-Charge is resident in the parish and available in the usual ways. His/Her responsibilities are generally limited to those related to the administration of the sacraments, preaching, teaching and pastoral care of the congregation.
The Priest-in-Charge should normally attend all Vestry meetings with seat and voice but no vote but is on hand for advisory and information purposes. By mutual agreement in some instances the Priest-in-Charge may preside over vestry meetings but does not routinely do so. Clergy serving as Curates or Assistants under the previous Rector may be asked to assume this responsibility. A written agreement with termination provisions is important.
The appointment of an Interim Rector by the Bishop with the consent of the Vestry, is appropriate in some circumstances.
The appointment of a person to this office should be carefully defined by a written agreement between the priest and the Vestry and with the Bishop’s approval. This agreement should include a clear definition of the task, the mutual expectations, compensation and the anticipated length of the contracted agreement.
The need for an Interim Rector is usually indicated in larger parishes, in conflict situations, in involuntary termination or similar kinds of circumstances, or when there is reason for a lengthy vacancy period. In congregations where there has been a long pastorate this model is often employed.
The role of the Interim is basically that of facilitating a healthy transition, reconciliation and pastoral healing. In contrast with other interim ministries, frequently significant changes will be made within the parish life.
Compensation of Supply Clergy - Advisory Guidelines
An item frequently overlooked in the budget process is the compensation of supply clergy. If a budget allowance for this is included up front, you won’t be pushed to provide this compensation when vacation time rolls around.
Mandatory fee schedules for supply clergy are inappropriate. Such fees should remain subject to negotiation base on individual circumstances. The following advisory guidelines are a frame of reference for both clergy and congregation:
|One Sunday Service with sermon||$175|
|Two Sunday Services with sermons||$225|
|One Midweek Service, no sermon||$75|
General practice has included the payment of mileage to the supply priest @ the current IRS business mileage reimbursement rate, currently $ .51mile