DEAR ABBY: One would think that after 34 years of pastoral experience, I would have been prepared, but when asked by a professional adult, whose father's funeral I had just conducted, "What do you charge?" I answered, "Nothing"! The reply I received was, "If you will give me the name and address of your church, I will send a check in your honor."
I should have said, "Nothing, but I am accustomed to receiving an honorarium -- especially from non-church members." And I could have added, "Today is my third trip to this city, totaling 240 miles. At a mere 20 cents per mile, that would be almost $50 for expenses alone -- not including the six to eight hours spent in travel and preparation."
Last month I was asked to conduct a funeral service for a non-church member who lived in our community. I received an honorarium of $100, which was greatly appreciated and set aside for a future vacation.
The majority of pastors are underpaid and taken for granted. My wife reminded me of the time I was paid $10 for a wedding with the suggestion that I split it with the pianist! -- ANOTHER GEORGIA PASTOR
DEAR PASTOR: Perhaps your letter will remind readers who require the services of a clergyperson for happy occasions (weddings, christenings,) as well as sad ones (funerals, last rites, etc.) that Hoover is no longer in the White House, and the clergyperson should be appropriately compensated for his/her automobile use, gasoline, dry cleaning, haircut -- not to mention the effort and the time spent in preparing and delivering the service.