Revising Your Letter of Agreement
All of our parochial clergy (both priests and deacons) should have Letters of Agreement (LOA) with the parishes for which they serve. The LOA spells out expectations for both the clergy and the lay leadership so as to avoid both routine misunderstandings and ill-will in times of crisis. Once a year, after the annual Mutual Ministry Review, the wardens and clergy (with assistance from the Treasurer, as needed) should meet to discuss any changes to be made to the Letter of Agreement. For deacons and assisting priests, the Rector/Vicar/Priest in Charge should also participate. Please note that the lifetime of an LOA is not the same as the clergy member's term of employment. While we urge faith communities to review their LOAs regularly for the sake of faithful stewardship, the failure to review the LOA with a particular clergy person by its expiration date does not constitute termination of employment.
For the LOA Review meeting, participants will need:
The point of this meeting will be to compare the two LOAs and note any gaps. Using the worksheet and the financials for the coming year, the wardens and clergy can work out the numbers for the coming year.
One participant should draw up a draft, starting with the digital version of the template. That person should then circulate the draft among the wardens, the clergy person and the Missioner for Transitions and Governance to make sure it
- reflects what was agreed upon at the meeting and
- meets with diocesan standards.
Email is fine for this circulation, but face-to-face may be useful if there are significant points of difference between the current and new LOA to be negotiated.
Once all parties are in agreement and any revisions have been made, take the draft to the vestry for review and approval. The vestry will then either approve or amend the draft. Any substantial changes having been reviewed as above, the “draft” watermark should be removed, a clean copy created and that copy signed by the Senior Warden and the Clergy member (and, for deacons and assisting priests, the Rector/Vicar/Priest in Charge). The signed copy is then to be mailed to the diocesan office for the bishop's signature.
Once the bishop has signed, the diocesan office will scan the signed copy and send the scans back to both Wardens and the clergy person (and, for deacons and assisting priests, the Rector/Vicar/Priest in Charge). A printout of that scan should be kept in the parish office, and copies should be distributed to all vestry members. At the diocesan end, the original will go in the parish file in the diocesan office, and a copy will go in the clergy person’s file.