Bishops in the United Methodist Church voted themselves a pay cut after “recognizing the financial challenges facing the church.”
The UMC’s 50 active U.S. bishops voted to give up their planned pay raises and reduced their salaries to the 2008 level, dropping their annual pay from $125,650 to $121,000, according to United Methodist News Service.
The bishops also said they will cut their semiannual council meetings from five days to four to save money. They said the UMC faces “an unprecedented moment in our history,” with church membership, worship attendance, baptisms and funding for certain ministries all declining.
“The current global crisis has uncovered our hesitancy to act, but it has also gifted us with a sense of urgency and an opportunity to lead courageously,” the bishops said in a statement at the conclusion of their spring meeting in May.
The UMC, which has about 8 million U.S. members, is suffering through the same budget pressures besetting most U.S. churches as the spiraling stock market cuts into endowment funds and donations decline.
Meanwhile, the bishops said, the church suffers from “institutional inertia” and “the structure we live with is not sufficient, nimble, or responsive to the fast-changing 21st-century world we inhabit.” The church is studying ways to “radically refashion and reorder the life of the United Methodist Church,” the bishops said.
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