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What is an appropriate/customary Pastor's fee for memorial service?

Started 1313696723.283 in Viewpoints | Last reply 1313937754.847 by KatherineW

This afternoon is my FIL's memorial service and I need a bit of help with deciding upon the amount for the honorarium (the amount contributed to the minister for performing the memorial service). The pastor is a friend and stated there was no fee, but my husband and I feel strongly about wanting to make a contribution. I know my father-in-law would have felt the same way- he wanted to be "square" with everyone-this is one of the last things I remember him saying to us.

Any insight you may have about this would be very helpful. Also, we are not, nor was my FIL a member of this church.

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Lilith_1313696850.854722 PostsRegistered 3/10/2011

I am sorry for your loss. You could donate something to a shelter if the pastor doesn't want anything. Maybe both, the pastor and your father-in-law, would like it.

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CherN1313696938.84511 PostsRegistered 2/13/2008

I'd be interested in an answer also, next week I having a memorial service to bury both my folks and have asked a pastor to perform a small service. I don't know whether to contribute to the church (my mother attended) or pay the pastor something.

beach music1313696993.87329065 PostsRegistered 4/16/2007

i just paid $250 for grave side services for my aunt and uncle... i thought it was more than fair.

i am sorry for your loss.

"don't get so tolerant that you tolerate intolerance." bill maher

happy hous­ewife1313697105.85334389 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007

For my parents the minister told us his fee and we gave him that and then adonation to the church.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

chrystaltr­ee1313697335.87314037 PostsRegistered 5/10/2010

Don't insult the pastor by trying to force money into his hand. Personally, I can't understand why you don't accept that he does not want a fee for officiating at the funeral of a person he considered to be a friend. If you must "pay" the man to feel good about yourself, make a contribution in his name to the church or a local charity. As for the usual & customary fee for such services, I am sure it differs by locality and parish. I'd call the parish secretary and ask her or him.

Dagna1313697495.3414011 PostsRegistered 2/10/2006

I would contact the church office to see what is customary. In this case, a donation to the church in that amount might be more appropriate.

AnikaBrodie1313697502.9616127 PostsRegistered 1/29/2008The NE state of mountains and valleys

I am sorry for your loss.

In our area pastors will not accept a fee if the deceased was a member of his/her church. If the person did not have a church the fee is a nominal $50.00 (live in a small town). In your case a donation to the church's memorial fund would be appropriate.

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brodalicio­us1313697797.51337 PostsRegistered 11/30/2009

Thank you all for your kind words. Chrystaltree, I never intended it to be a vulgar gesture as to "force" money into the pastor's hands. I had intended to, and have already written an appropriate thank you note and would enclose the appropriate honorarium within the card. I just was having difficulty deciding upon the customary amount.

naturalfan1313697842.3834445 PostsRegistered 1/27/2009

Your comment made me remember a recent conversation I had with a friend. This was not a funeral service but a wedding for the relative of a friend of mine. This church wanted $1300.00 to perform a wedding. I was stunned! I thought the fee would be about $200 - $300 but I could not believe she said $1300.00.

Lakk1313698048.0935250 PostsRegistered 11/1/2006

Sorry for your loss.

I've been through 4 family funerals in recent years and we sent the pastor's 100.00 and the pianist 50.00.

lizofgeorg­ia1313698105.5195 PostsRegistered 11/13/2008New England girl in love with the south

Sometimes a funeral service is held during a time when there is no regularly scheduled service or mass and the "fee" is used to cover the expenses of opening the church - lights, heating, air...etc. My church is small and is not kept opened except for services. I agree with another poster, call the church office and ask.

antyel1313698128.3810585 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Miami

The charge for the Rabbi at my Mom's graveside service last year was $500. I think the funeral home gets a part of that. He did a wonderful job so it was worth every penny.

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colliemom41313698175.62317428 PostsRegistered 9/7/2010

I would give whatever you feel you can afford to give or want to give. I'm sure it will be appreciated.

PuppyBreath1313698641.97718676 PostsRegistered 1/10/2007Mn. Twins Fan

The pastor's fees were covered in the bill from the funeral home for both my DH's service, and then later for my DF's. All the fees were. The organist, and soloist too for example.


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scotttie1313699611.87742020 PostsRegistered 6/15/2006

brodalicious, sorry for your loss. I think the suggestion to call the church office and ask what is customary, that is what do most give, is a good suggestion. Your idea of enclosing a check in a thank you card is a good one. I would think $50 to $100 would be appropriate. Otherwise whatever you can afford. If the pastor doesn't want to keep the money he can always donate it back to the church. The church can always use the money!

PS: You are doing the right thing in wanting to give an honorarium even tho he said it wasn't necessary. I don't know why the snarky comment above about "forcing" it in his hand to make yourself feel better. Wow.

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Shorty2U1313700033.816338 PostsRegistered 6/24/2007City girl @ heart

I am so sorry for your loss. I would give 50. (my dads minister was included in the funeral for 25 but we gave extra). Priests were more (in the funeral package).

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make"

shoptillId­rop1313701233.7439406 PostsRegistered 10/25/2006Michigan

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I feel $100 is very reasonable, and if there's graveside service too, then maybe $125-$150. If he doesn't want you to pay him, ask if it would be okay to donate the money to the church. If they have a special fund such as a building fund, or church improvement, along those lines, that would be nice.

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Rarity1313708789.1331791 PostsRegistered 10/19/2005

Five years ago $250 was customary around here.

brownie9171313723522.344579 PostsRegistered 11/19/2004New England

Funeral Homes usually have a suggested price range. If the pastor (or whoever is officiating at the funeral service) is at the funeral home for it, usually the price is less. At the church, it's more.

JuicyFruit1313881486.9873354 PostsRegistered 9/5/2009

I think those who suggest $50 are out of touch with reality. They deserve much more than that!

dmod1313881806.16322523 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Jersey

The going rate, around my neck of the woods, is about 150ish. The music, singers, etc are extra.

I am sorry for your loss.

chumlee_1313934670.45381 PostsRegistered 10/3/2008

I am sorry for your loss.

Ten years ago for my mother's funeral we gave the pastor $500 (cash) and made a donation to the church. The soloist and organist were each given $100 (cash). By giving cash, if they wanted to turn the money back to the church it was easier.


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CountryGir­l431313935719.72115 PostsRegistered 9/8/2010Kansas

For my DH's service the funeral home had suggested fees for minister, organist, etc. which they took care of seeing that the person received. I think the amount for the minister was $150 which I asked to be doubled since he was a friend who had to travel a 100 miles and stay overnight. He always stayed at Motel 6 when in town so it didn't cost him nearly that much for the room.

Sage041313936813.717417 PostsRegistered 7/10/2011

I think $300.00 to the church and $100.00 each to the soloist and organist. That's an even $500.00 and your FIL would really like that.

KatherineW1313937754.83328130 PostsRegistered 3/16/2009Alabamian by Birth; Southern By The Grace of God

For my son's funeral we gave 200.00 to the pastor and 100.00 to the soloist. That is about all I remember.

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