AC: COE recommends 6 percent raise for clergy

Pictured, Cassie Watson, vice chairman of the Commission for Equitable Compensation, gives his commission’s report. Photo by Matt Brodie.

By Allison Trussell

FLORENCE—Annual Conference has approved a 6 percent cost of living increase for South Carolina clergy next year.

During the Tuesday morning business session of Annual Conference, Cassie Watson, vice chairman of the Commission for Equitable Compensation, presented that commission’s report, which recommended the raises.

The commission recommended a 6 percent cost of living increase to the minimum salary beginning Jan. 1, 2024. That raises the minimum salary for full-time clergy appointments in the local church for the following: members in full connection, elders and deacons, from $49,350 to $52,311; provisional, commissioned and associate members from $44,862 to $47,554; and for licensed local pastors from $41,619 to $44,116.

Watson noted the increase is in part because of the national economy and would allow the conference to offer competitive salaries. The written report said the Social Security costs of living in 2023 is 8.7 percent.

The commission requested a line item apportionment of $565,000 to fund the operational budget. Watson said this was the same amount requested in 2022 and 2023. He assured the delegates that the commission will make best use of the funds provided.

“Those funds allow pastors to be placed in churches that otherwise would be unable to afford them. Your generosity has not been taken lightly by this commission,” he said.

He ended the report by encouraging delegates and churches to make sure their pastors take their due vacations and time off in order to serve their congregations and communities to their fullest.

The report was received and approved with no discussion.

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