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Proposed Change in Pastoral Agreement for 2023

In 2019, our church voted to search for a 3/4-time pastor. You may or may not remember that when Cathy was called, her call agreement was set at 80% rather than 75%, because the total cost for her compensation was well below the church’s budget because of the rules of the Conference clergy compensation guidelines and Cathy's specific offer. We got a little more of her time than expected, and at a lower cost than we planned to pay.

In an effort toward helping to close our budget deficit, Cathy requested to move to 3/4-time
beginning in January 2023.

Here are the main reasons:

  •  We “cleaned” the church membership roll this year at Cathy's request.  This brought our total active membership below 100, In spite of bringing in ten new members. It was the right thing to do, even though Cathy knew she would lose the $2,500 increment for church size in the clergy compensation guidelines that kicks in at 100 members.

  • Because Cathy will be losing income, she would like to work a little less next year, requesting the cut from 80% to 75%.  To offset some of the income loss, we have agreed to begin reimbursing her for dental insurance premiums. We will also pay for all Federal holidays, adding 3 holidays to her current list.
    Both these changes would typically be included in a UCC call agreement.

  • These changes, plus other changes suggested by Cathy in the pastoral ministries section of the budget, will save the church approximately $5,000 in 2023.

Cathy plans to manage this decreased time commitment in several ways: she will leave her role on the Merrimack Association Committee on Church and Ministry, which became more time consuming than expected. She will turn over hands-on management of the Sunday School to the Board of Christian Education and the teachers.  There may be some further adjustments that she will need to make going forward, but these are the main ones. Except for the change in Cathy's level of involvement in the Sunday School, these changes in time commitment will not likely be visible to the congregation. She will still be leading worship on Sundays, still leading Bible Study, still available to you for conversations or pastoral care or committee issues, just as much as in the past.


This change gets the church back to the level of pastoral coverage we voted for in 2019 and puts the church where it needs to be in terms of pastoral time going forward. By building a sustainable budget, we will likely be able to call a new 3/4-time pastor when the time comes.


This request by Cathy to step back to 75% has been approved by the Pastoral Relations Committee and discussed with the ad hoc committee that met this summer to consider our budget gap. It will need to be approved at several levels in the coming months – the Trustees as part of the budget, the Cabinet in terms of Cathy's call agreement, and ultimately by the congregation at the annual meeting. Both Pastor Cathy and I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Just give either of us a call.


Pam Brown, Moderator and Chair of the Pastoral Relations Committee