Wilson is a 62-year-old minister with 34 years of experience in churches of various sizes, from fewer than 100 to more than 1,600 members. Feeling the threat of burnout after years of serving congregations with large staffs and demanding programmatic schedules, his zeal for ministry is renewed by the prospect of serving a church with a more relaxed schedule and more focus on pastoral care in one-on-one relationships.
Trinity Presbyterian Church is an 80-member church with modest resources. They cannot afford a full-time pastor, but Wilson feels compelled by the warmth of their fellowship, their love of worship, and a genuine commitment to serving their small town community. He is interested in their 25-hour per week position as stated supply for $25,000 per year, a salary which is a bit of a challenge for the congregation.
Unless required by presbytery policy, a minister who is not an installed pastor may be enrolled in the Benefits Plan through either Pastor’s Participation or menu options. The presbytery has a general policy that ministers serving in temporary pastoral roles (interim, stated supply) be enrolled in Pastor’s Participation.
Wilson and Mary, the Clerk of Session at Trinity Church, meet with the Executive/Stated Clerk and the chairperson of the Committee on Ministry to talk about the presbytery’s compensation policy. Wilson discloses that his wife, an administrator with the local school system, has employer-provided medical coverage, which can include him at no cost. Wilson and Mary ask if the policy requiring enrollment in Pastor’s Participation can be waived if the church still enrolls him in pension and death and disability.
Assume the perspectives of the presbytery leaders. How would you respond to this request?