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The wages of retirement.

As the retired wife of our retired clergy, it was with rising indignation that I read the news of the raises for executive staff and professors as outlined in March. In conversations with other such wives, I know that they share my feelings, and they have encouraged me to write this letter.

General Assembly in 2001 last approved raises for retired clergy. Many of us are of the generation when it was mandatory to serve two years (and many stayed longer) in churches supported by the Mission Fund, receiving the basic stipend, out of which we bought our own appliances and paid all utility bills while living in sometimes ancient and substandard manses. When our children were young there were no health or dental benefits and many wives who started out dedicated to serving the church ended up seeking employment which supplied these benefits, supplemented the basic stipend, and helped to educate our children, for which we were criticized because, "We need somebody there to answer the phone!" In those early years there was little left of the basic stipend to save for our retirement. In those days we received monthly cheques from a fund provided by a generous donor for young clergy families in mission charges. Perhaps we need another such guardian angel in our retirement!

We donate regularly to the church college, our local congregation and every special fund that arises and, of course, to Presbyterians Sharing. If the Presbyterians Sharing budget can contribute funds for college grants, some of which seem to be used for professors' salaries, how about a little Presbyterian sharing with your retired clergy?

Doreen Beaton

Harrow, Ont.
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Title Annotation:letters
Author:Beaton, Doreen
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jun 1, 2005
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