West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
This page talks about pastors in congregational settings.
WV-WMD Synod has only one deacon under call, and that is
to a social ministry organization. Given the wide variety
of settings that one might be called to outside of the
congregational context and the equally wide range of
skills, experience, and demands, there are no plans to
develop extra-congregational guidelines.
Salary & Allowances
The form, Definition
of Compensation, Benefits, And Responsibilities for
Ministers of Word and Sacrament Under Call,
can be downloaded from the ELCA resource cache (by
clicking the linked title). This form should be completed
as part of the call process and may be updated by mutual
consent from time to time. It should be reviewed by both
the pastor and the congregation.
The recommended pastoral compensation for 2024 is posted
below (along with link to the Pastoral Compensation Kit
for 2024). For those interested in comparisons to previous
years, scroll down to the history section.
To assist in calculation of the total defined
compensation (TDC), social security allowance, etc.,
you may use the pastoral
compensation calculator (an MS-Excel file with the
formulae built in). The pastoral compensation calculator
was updated on 21 August 2023 to reflect the newly
established base figure for 2024. Of course, you should
probably check your math manually as well.
Synod Council, at its 19 August 2023 meeting, received
the report of the Synodical Mutual Ministry Committee and,
after debate and amendment, adopted the following,
The Pastoral Compensation
Kit for 2024 is downloadable in pdf. The Pastoral
Compensation Calculator for 2024, a downloadable
spreadsheet, is being updated and will be linked here when
2023Synod Council, at its 6 August 2022, approved the recommendation of the Finance Committee, as amended, on the clergy compensation guideline for 2023.
The Finance Committee recommends that Synod Council increase the recommended base salary for pastors by 8.25% to $39,760 in 2023. All other recommendations regarding pastoral compensation remain the same with the exception that, while Portico Gold Plus remains the standard recommendation for health coverage, the Portico Silver Plus plan with an HSA contribution by the congregation may be considered as an option when a comparable level of service is provided.The Clergy Compensation Kit for 2023 is now available as a PDF download. Not only are the new numbers in it, but it has also received expanded explanations to several sections as well as a reordering of topics.
2022Synod Council acted on the compensation guidelines for 2022 at its 15 September 2021 meeting, with the following action adopted:
SC 21.9.5, Council approved the following Finance Committee recommendation with amendments: that Synod Council increase the recommended base salary for pastors to $36,730 in 2022 and to no less than $37,860 in 2023, and that in providing of a housing allowance, the housing allowance be the fair market rental value for unfurnished housing appropriate to the pastor’s household size including utilities in the congregation’s community.
The following is offered as clarification:
Other than the changes mentioned above, the standards for 2021 apply and can be reviewed by downloading Pastoral Compensation/Expenses/Benefits Package Expectations for 2021
Acting upon recommendation of the Synod Finance
That the Synod Council adopt “West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod Pastoral Compensation/Expenses/Benefits Package Expectations for 2021,” which indicates no change to the minimum base salary for pastors in 2021, but remind congregations that the tenure modifier ($400 per year of service in ministry) should still be applied,
Synod Council on 26 August 2020, in special meeting,
adopted the guideline for 2021 pastoral compensation. The
Synod Finance Committee, in its report, explained its
The Social Security Administration is expected to announce in October that there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for those who receive social security in 2021 – due to falling gas prices, stagnant prices of goods and services (excluding healthcare), and high unemployment. This is the metric we have [for the past several years] used to adjust our guidelines. The most generous predictions suggest that we might see a 0.3% COLA, but, as one member of the Finance Committee put it, “that’s not enough for me to take my kids out to dinner on.” The final wisdom of the Finance Committee is to carry over last year’s numbers but remind congregations that if their pastor has one more year of experience, a raise is still in order according to the document.
Full details can be reviewed by downloading Pastoral Compensation/Expenses/Benefits Package Expectations for 2021.
Sabbatical & Family Leave
Synod Assembly 2000 adopted sabbatical guidelines, amending them in 2001. These guidelines are under review, but, in the meantime, they provide a basis for a congregation and its pastor to discuss the granting of a sabbatical. As guidelines, they may be modified to meet local conditions. Any sabbatical represents a mutual understanding between the congregation and its pastor. Contact the bishop if you would like assistance navigating the issues connected to sabbatical. To download the WV-WMD Sabbatical Guidelines, click here.
The Synod also adopted guidelines for family leave. This
guideline covers maternity/paternity and the care of ill
family members when the providing of such care requires
extended absence from pastoral duties. To download the WV-WMD Family
Leave Guidelines, click here.
Clergy Transition (The Pastor Is Leaving)
Clergy transition poses extra questions related to
compensation and financial obligations. Visit the Pastoral
Transition & Vacancy page for more information.
West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, ℅ St. Paul Lutheran Church, 309 Baldwin Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
304-363-4030 + Porter@WV-WMD.org