There have been a number of articles recently on unemployment and long spells of unemployment amongst clergy. The latest appears in the Wall Street Journal
While the economy appears to be recovering from the worst downturn in generations, more clergy are facing unemployment as churches continue to struggle with drops in donations. In 2009, the government counted about 5,000 clergy looking for jobs, up from 3,000 in 2007 and 2,000 in 2005.
Church staff are feeling the pinch, too. In an October survey, about one in five members of the interdenominational 3,000-member National Association of Church Business Administration said they had laid off staff amid the recession.
The official unemployment rate among clergy sits at 1.2%, far below the national average jobless rate, but layoffs can be particularly painful for ministers. Churches aren't subject to unemployment taxes, so laid-off employees can't collect the benefits available to other workers.
West Shore kept Mr. Ryan, 42-years-old, and the other pastor on staff for five months while they looked for new jobs, but many churches don't offer severance benefits, experts say.
"Churches are so reluctant to let people go that by the time they get to the point where they have to, they don't have the resources for a big severance package," said Bob Clarke, who directs programs that assist ministers in need for the Presbyterian Church in America.Read it all.
What about clergy layoffs in The Episcopal Church? Do they occur? Is severance pay common?