Saturday, December 30, 2006


From the Del Rosa UMC Monthly Newsletter: The DRUMBEAT
The Pastor's section: The Cadence

Dear Del Rosa Family,

Welcome to Epiphany season in the church!

Epiphany is that time when the church recognizes the awakenings of the soul and the people for the Christ who has come. We come and bring gifts to share with the Christ child, since he shared himself so completely with us.

The season is a time of new discoveries. I learned a little something new this past Advent season as I went to “The Nativity” one afternoon with Anna, so that we could hear the Christmas story again in a new way. I was reminded of the Epiphany of the shepherds and the magi as they heard the story of the Christ in a new light. There was a revealing statement about gifts in the movie, as one of the shepherds told Mary, “We all have a gift to bring to the world, yours is the child in your womb.”

Epiphany began as a season of gifts, and to some extent we celebrate it as such today as we sing through “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, which are the twelve days after Christmas until Epiphany. The season comes to use through the long centuries as the time when the magi arrived at the house where Jesus was with his parents, bringing the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gifts have been said to represent the future of the Christ child. Gold to be the King of Kings. Frankincense to be the High Priest for all time. Myrrh to represent the death that Jesus would die.

I have heard it another way, that all of the gifts are gifts of preparing for death. The gold is pay for the entrance to the eternal life. We have heard many myths over the years that tell us of paying the price for the afterlife, including the boatman on the river Styx in Roman culture, and the placing of gold coins on the eyes of Norsemen to pay their way into Valhalla, and even the Egyptians and the gold that went into the grave with them to provide for the afterlife. The frankincense is used to burn during the embalming of the body to keep the stench away, and prior to that during the salting of the body when it was prepared for the final burial, and was a procedure reserved for kings. The final gift of myrrh was one of the elements of the embalming fluid used during the final wrapping of the body.

Strange to fixate on the death of the Christ at a time like this when we are beginning the Christian year, and haven’t even entered into the days of Lent where we begin to look to the death of the Christ, but I learned something new this Advent and Epiphany, opening my ears to the words of others, and trying to hear the story of the Christ once again in a new light.

I hope this Christian year brings new discoveries into your life, opening your eyes and ears to new ways of being with the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, The Eternal High Priest, The Baby Jesus, who is The Savior of the World.


Pastor David

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

Know that I have appreciated each of you who read this blog, and those that have responded over the year and a half I have been doing this.

May your Christmas and New Year be blessed.

In Christ,

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sermon 12/17

Fear can be utterly crippling. I have found myself overwhelmed by fears of late, and I know it is the season for many of us to come face to face with some difficult problems.

Some of the fears I have had to confront this week:

-Not having enough money, especially as I consider how to pay for Christmas gifts, pay off student loans, credit cards, and all the regular bills.

-death. I have been to visit with Scott Baker and with Richard Camp this week. Scott had some rough infections to fight off this week, and it took a toll on him. Richard has been fighting his cancer for several years now, and this go round seems to be likely to be the last.

-As I confronted my mortality I also confronted those things that I additionally fear like the loss of my mind/memory or as I have struggled through a strained hamstring the loss of my body in one form or another.

-I have had to face those who did not like me or decisions I made. I have to say that continues to be a fear of mine, I want to be liked, and I want to do what is right and best for God’s kingdom. Sometimes I realize that will take me into the face of others, and cause dislike and regret.

-Speaking of regret I fear my regrets will come back to haunt me. Like the girl I broke up with that stalked me for 6 months after we broke up will walk back into my life.

-As a pastor I am constantly aware of the teaching I need to do, and I fear I may lead someone too far off the path (I suspect I already lead some off the track from time to time, but pray for grace to see me and them through). What’s more when those fears start to creep in, it isn’t too long before I start to fear for my own salvation. Did I really get it right with Jesus, or am I just a loony in the bin with so many others?

-When all that piles up I begin to fear that I am a failure, in the church, in my marriage, in my family relationships, and even in my friendships finding regret for the friend I haven’t called in ages.

Those are my internal fears, and they pale in comparison to the ones that so many others want to foist on me…

-My money will be worthless because there is no retirement security for my generation.

-That the Muslims are going to take over the world, and crucify me, even me, especially if we don’t keep on in Iraq. Or that the Communists are on the rise again starting with China and the Muslims won’t matter because China is big enough and bad enough to take on all comers.

-That the fires will come tearing through the neighborhood again. Or the “big one” will strike and we’ll have no food or water. Or that the global warming will generate enough heat to fry me just by walking outside.

-What about the nightly fears about our food, that this food or that drink is tainted and we need to stop eating or drinking that item.

-Or the high crime rates in San Bernardino, and the Del Rosa area, that we ought to be afraid of the drug dealers, the pimps/prostitutes, and gang bangers, let alone the petty thieves and taggers.

We are taught there are four responses to fear. Most of us know of the first two fight or flight. The other two are also out there, and some of you probably know about the freeze response, or the sex drive response.

These all have to deal with giving in to the tension of the fears, by letting them overwhelm us, or taking over.

I have to say that I learned something entirely new this week. In the church, we hope to have different responses to natural occurrences because of the transformational being of Jesus Christ, and I have had to try to learn this new response this week. Strangely I found it in our texts for this week, in Zephaniah and Luke. The response is joy.

I want to share with you how to get Joy, but first we ought to discover what Joy is.

1. The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or
      expectation of good; pleasurable feelings or emotions
      caused by success, good fortune, and the like, or by a
      rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire;
      gladness; exhilaration of spirits; delight.
      [1913 Webster]

joy (joi) pronunciation

    1. Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.
    2. The expression or manifestation of such feeling.
  1. A source or an object of pleasure or satisfaction: their only child, their pride and joy.

v., joyed, joy·ing, joys.


To take great pleasure; rejoice. Archaic.

  1. To fill with ecstatic happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction.
  2. To enjoy.

[Middle English joie, from Old French, from Latin gaudia, pl. of gaudium, joy, from gaudēre, to rejoice.




  1. A feeling of extreme gratification aroused by something good or desired: delectation, delight, enjoyment, pleasure. See happy/unhappy, like/dislike.
  2. A condition of supreme well-being and good spirits: beatitude, blessedness, bliss, cheer, cheerfulness, felicity, gladness, happiness, joyfulness. See happy/unhappy.


  1. To feel or take joy or pleasure: delight, exult, pleasure, rejoice. See happy/unhappy.
  2. To give great or keen pleasure to: cheer, delight, enchant, gladden, gratify, overjoy, please, pleasure, tickle. See happy/unhappy, like/dislike.

Zephaniah speaks of all the wrath of God in all the text leading to our text from this morning, and then we have this responsive. Luke begins the passage with the statement from John about running from the wrath…a very fear-filled response to the dangers of the world, and the world to come.

The better part is to realize that both Zephaniah and Luke offer us ways to turn our fear into Joy.

-First, recognize God in our midst (Zeph. 3:17) The very claim of John the Baptist in Luke. God in turn rejoices in us and renews us.

-Our shame can turn to praise. (Zeph. 3:19, Luke 3:14)

*cf. Kirk Franklin and his struggle with Pornography

*cf. The Pursuit of Happyness and Chris Gardner

-Come home and do what you were intended to do. (Zeph 3:20, Luke 3:12)

-Don’t rely on your past accomplishments. (Zephaniah, Luke 3:8)

*corollary: Don’t dwell on past failures as they lead to fear.

*Do good today if you have two coats, give one away, and likewise if you have food.

* Do not instill fear in others. (Luke 3:12-14)

- Expect baptism to change you, to run through your spirit like fire, to cleanse and purify you. (Luke 3:16)

*Joy comes in the morning, and we need to face our fears and be transformed by God.

There is nothing that says that doing these things immediately ensures joy, but it will counter fear. In destroying fear we can find true joy.


    1. Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.
    2. The expression or manifestation of such feeling.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Did you ever just feel loose in the world? That seems to be me these days. I do not have a firm grasp on the good or the bad, I seem to be unable to form coherent sermon thoughts (which is a real problem when it comes to the fact that it is Advent season).


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sermon prep

These thoughts from December 3, 2006 sermon preparations:

Taking a Stand for Justice

The Gospel of Luke tells us not to be watching out for the return of Jesus, but that when he descends from the clouds, then the time will be upon us. We keep looking and waiting and putting things off because there is no urgency to it. We tie up dollars in the local church and in the conference because we want more time to study what to do with it, and still the ship is sinking.

The ship is sinking and we act like the man in the story of the flood waters

-a friend offered him a lifejacket

-a boat comes by

-a helicopter comes by

-the victim replies, “God will save me”

-Dies and goes to heaven, asks God why he didn’t save him

-God replies “did you not understand that the lifejacket, the boat and helicopter were there to save you?"

The answer lies in the fact that we are called upon to look out for one another.

I am grateful for Heifer Project being with us this week. I am reminded of the several other projects that have been taking place this week. December 1 was worldwide HIV/AIDS awareness day. The Board of Church and Society has asked that Advent serve as a time to look to end torture in the world. Our own Advent calendar at the church reminds us of the need to pray for one another as several names are listed at the bottom of each day during Advent.

Insert notes from: health

General Board of Church and Society "Faith in Action Weekly Digest", article on torture

The Gospel of Luke says that in the day that the Son of God descends from the clouds we should stand up and raise your hands for your redemption is near. But, it goes on to say that we should not get caught up in the likes of drunkenness, instead striving for righteousness that we are not caught unawares. What better way to act as though that moment is right now, but that we stand up for righteousness, and doing what is right, looking out for one another. We can then be “the Branch” that is spoken of in Jeremiah, the Branch of the people of Israel that have upheld the covenant to secure the love, respect and health of all within the community. Lest we begin to close the community in too close, let us remember the words of Jesus as he told the story of the Good Samaritan, and who our neighbor is.

If indeed Christ is our hope, the expectation of something great, let us also be the hope of Christ to the world, as we have been left as stewards of the kingdom of God.

Clergy Salaries - Recent Research

Statistical Report and Summary of Salaries

At recent meetings of the young adult clergy of the Cal-Pac Conference there have been discussions about salaries for new clergy in that most young adult clergy are having financial concerns (if not difficulties) particularly with the prevalence of large debt from college and seminary. We are experiencing a very significant drop in the number of young clergy in this conference (15% in the early 80s to 4% 2006), and nationwide, and a feeling among the younger clergy that part of the decrease in young clergy has to do with how “unaffordable” it is to be in the clergy. With these concerns I was asked by the young adult clergy of the California-Pacific Annual Conference to explore salary schedules, related to several factors, including cost of living, other annual conferences, and educationally equivalent employment.

Some of the young clergy related comments made to them in derogatory tones that persons in their congregations thought that someone who went into the clergy “didn’t need the money.” Another related the comment from his congregation that someone went into the clergy “because the person was called, [not to make a living]” as a response to how difficult it was to make a living, pay the bills and concentrate on ministry with the current rates of pay.

Indeed, young clergy are entering the ranks of the ordained because they are called, but there are some significant concerns that we are turning away clergy before they ever enter the ordination process because individuals can see that there is no way to make a living in the clergy. There is evidence that persons who enter the clergy are leaving early because the bills are piling up faster than the income from the job, making it untenable to remain in the clergy, while many of those who remain in the clergy are hindered in their ministry because of financial stress

This anecdotal evidence is then followed up with data. If the church is serious about desiring young clergy and clergy who are earnest in following their call, some changes to salary schedules are going to have to be made. Additionally, there may be a need to better develop an understanding of the need and purpose of the professional clergy, and whether or not they need to be “full-time” in the local church.

Let me present, first, a study done by Duke University, to be followed by some facts and figures of earning power in the clergy, locally and nationwide, for those with similar educational backgrounds for your consideration. I hope to conclude this research with some possibilities for contemplation in the Spring.

Pulpit & Pew Report: Clergy Pay Causing Problems for Churches

Low and unequal wages paid to clergy threaten to turn their "calling" into a job -- and to turn away seminary students

By Blake Dickinson

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Competitive, free-market approaches to determining clergy compensation -- used to varying degrees in virtually all Protestant denominations -- are harming the church and distorting its mission, according to a study by Duke University researchers.

Such approaches leave clergy financially vulnerable, change ministry from a "calling" to a "career," encourage congregations to grow for purely economic reasons and make it more difficult for pastors to offer leadership that challenges and transforms congregations, concluded the study's authors. The study is part of the ongoing Pulpit & Pew research project on pastoral leadership based at Duke Divinity School.

"We're not saying that churches necessarily need to run out tomorrow and pay their clergy more, although that may be the case," said Becky McMillan, a labor economist, co-author of the study and associate director of Pulpit & Pew. "But it is time for them to step back and think purposefully about how they're paying their pastors and why."

Low clergy salaries make it difficult for pastors to be true to their calling, the study contends. And this lack of income is causing many talented seminary graduates to enter other professions or other forms of ministry.

The issue of clergy salaries is, at its core, as much about how congregations view their pastors as it is about money, McMillan said.

"The fact that we use the free market to determine how much to pay clergy suggests that we view them as paid employees who compete for the position, and not as people who are called and compelled by God to spread the gospel," she said. "Our study suggests that looking at clergy as paid employees is a problem."

The study, titled "How Much Should We Pay the Pastor?: A Fresh Look at Clergy Salaries in the 21st Century," recommends that Protestant churches reconsider how they set clergy pay. Rather than turning solely to the free market for guidance, they should instead narrow the salary gap between pastors at small and large churches and provide all pastors with sufficient compensation to enable them and their families to live a decent life -- in essence, providing them with a "living wage."

To do so, however, will require many churches to surrender some degree of autonomy in order to share resources and act collaboratively with other churches, particularly in providing benefits such as health coverage, retirement and educational debt repayment.

The study was conducted by McMillan and Matthew J. Price, former associate director of Pulpit & Pew and now director of analytical research at the Episcopal Church Pension Group in New York City. The complete report is available online at the Pulpit and Pew Web site.

Using salary figures compiled in a 2001 national clergy survey, McMillan and Price sought to examine how free market forces shape clergy compensation and how that, in turn, affects the church. They looked at clergy salaries by church "polity," or organizational structure, particularly regarding the amount of independence individual congregations have in setting salaries.

In all but the very largest Protestant churches, salaries for pastors in "connectional" polity churches (those subject to some degree of centralized authority such as Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians and others) are consistently higher than clergy salaries in "congregational" polity churches (those with local church autonomy, such as Baptists, Pentecostals, United Church of Christ and others), the report stated. That disparity occurred even when controlling for pastor education, experience and church members' income.

About 60 percent of Protestant pastors serve in small churches, with an average weekly attendance of 100 or less. It was in these churches where the impact of church polity -- and the free market -- was most apparent, according to McMillan and Price. The median salary, including housing, for pastors serving small churches was $36,000 in connectional churches and $22,300 in congregational churches.

In large churches (with 351 to 1,000 in attendance, comprising about 5 percent of all Protestant churches), median salaries were $66,003 for pastors in connectional churches and $59,315 for pastors in congregational churches.

The same disparities exist in regard to fringe benefits, the researchers found. Pastors in congregational churches are much less likely than their connectional counterparts to receive pension benefits and health care coverage. Only 30 percent of small congregational churches, for example, provided retirement benefits for their pastors, compared to 80 percent of small connectional churches.

McMillan and Price attributed the differences in compensation primarily to centralized decision-making in connectional churches, which promote minimum salary guidelines and requirements to pay pension and health care benefits.

Regardless of polity, however, only a small percentage of pastors earn what most Americans would consider a professional-level salary, the study found. The median salary, including housing, for all full-time pastors in the study was $40,000.

Catholic clergy salaries do not create the same tensions, the researchers reported.

With no spouse or children to support, Catholic priests are generally paid less than Protestant clergy, the survey stated. Those lower salaries are offset by the provision of other benefits, including health care, retirement and theological education.

The range of salaries is much narrower for Catholic clergy. The median salary paid to Catholic priests varied only slightly regardless of the parish size, the survey showed. Median salaries for priests ranged from $20,883 for those serving small parishes (with less than 100 people in weekly attendance) up to $26,633 for those serving the largest parishes (with over 1,000 in attendance).

Rather than being determined by market forces, Catholic clergy salaries are set by the diocesan bishop and are typically comparable across a diocese. As a result, parishes that might not otherwise be able to afford a priest are often aided financially.

Freed from financial constraints, priests can more easily move between smaller and larger parishes as needed, the researchers said. Under such a system, excellence in ministry is driven not by financial incentives, but by faithfulness to one's call.

For more information, contact: Bob Wells | (919) 660-3427 |

From the Duke study I draw several immediate conclusions. When pastors are concerned about how to stretch the dollar in the home the life care of the church begins to sink further and further into the background; and pastors in non-Catholic denominations are more likely to have to stretch the dollar. There is a significant disparity in salaries from large to small churches, which is induced by the structure of localized salaries, and shrinking congregations. While benefits are shown to be beneficial, pastors are still being paid below “consider[ed] professional-level salar[ies]”.

And now for some localized California-Pacific information for the discussion:

Reading through the various data, I know raw figures get rather tedious and we can draw our own inferences. For this reason I have set it apart, so that the reader may inform his or her own decision according to the data supports presented, and evidenced elsewhere in the webfiles provided.

Median Income for 4-Person Families (US Census Bureau)

United States (2005) $62,732

California (2005) $65,766

United States (1984) $26,274

California (1984) $27,763

US Census American Community Survey

2005 Median Household Income

The 2005 ACS includes only the household population. This universe includes both the civilian and military population in households and excludes the group quarters population. The group quarters population consists of the institutionalized (such as people in correctional institutions or nursing homes) and the noninstitutionalized (most of whom are in college dormitories).

National - $46,242

California - $53,629

2005 US Census data

Median Income of person with a Graduate Degree

Men - $71,918

Women - $47,319.

Earnings by Occupation and Education 1999

All Clergy - $28,721

Full-Time Clergy - $34,696 (73.4% College Graduates)

2005 Median Weekly Earnings – National (

Clergy - $785 ($40,820-annual)

California 2005 OES State Occupational Employment Statistics


Median Hourly $21.81

Median Annual $45,370

Mean Hourly $23.06

Mean Annual $47,970

Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers in the West (US Dept. of Labor)

Base Year 1982-1984 = 100%

1996 Half 1 = 156.6%

2006 Half 1 = 204.5%

Cost of Living Index 2005 (

Average for United States = 100%

Los Angeles = 153.1% (Housing-245.4%)

San Diego = 141% (Housing-212.4%)

Honolulu = 162.4% (Housing-243.8%)

2004-2005 Candler School of Theology
All Graduates (Percent with no debt)- 25.8%
All MDiv Graduates (Percent with no debt) - 23.6%
All MDiv Graduates (Percent with debt) - 76.4%; avg debt of those borrowing $34,834
UM MDiv Graduates (Percent with debt) - 78.3%; avg debt of those borrowing $29,908

1983 Pacific and Southwest Annual Conference Journal

CAC $17,979

Minimum Compensation $14,383

1984 Pacific and Southwest Annual Conference Journal

CAC $18,160

Minimum Compensation $14,528

Car Allowance Avg $2,282

Housing Allowance (30% of CAC) - $5,448

GCFA Figures for Cal-Pac Minimum Compensation 2006

PM,FLP $21,648

FC $23,372

Equitable Compensation (Cal-Pac Conference)

Denomination Average Compensation (DAC)

Conference Average Compensation (CAC)
















What I hope to offer now is some interpretation on my own behalf and for other young clergy (and clergy entering as a second career, as the statistics bear witness to them in some instances as well. We are trying to show that it is difficult to continue as a clergyperson in this conference at the current rates of pay).

First, let me impart some of the good news. As United Methodists we pay our clergy better than the national averages for clergy persons, especially once you include housing and medical benefits. (I calculate housing for clergy in California-Pacific at the rate of $1800 per month, which includes rent and utilities; medical benefits are calculated on the rate of nearly $4500 for a single clergyperson.) At this rate of pay, the lowest a full-time clergy person could earn would be around $46,000. This is greater than the 2005 figures for clergy pay on a national schedule.

Considering those figures it would seem that if one is a woman, one is likely to be paid according to the national median for persons with similar education. Our men, then, are receiving well below the median. This Conference also feels a great responsibility to maintain the equity of the sexes in pay and location for our appointments, and if we were to take the average of the median salaries for men and women with graduate degrees it would seem that we are still underpaying our clergy, who would be expecting to earn $60,000 as an individual.

California and Hawaii have much higher Cost of Living Indices than the remainder of the nation, with some regional cities in the same range (San Francisco CA, Washington DC, Boston MA, and New York NY), with ranges of 140-160% of the national average. Housing costs for many of our pastors, especially those with parsonages, have managed to avoid the major hike in housing costs, but there still remains some work to be done to equalize the housing allowances according to the areas we serve.

While we have kept pace with paying our pastors a housing allowance or providing a parsonage, that is in line with our conference housing standards, in most regions of the conference, the cash salary for the job has failed to keep pace. Using the figures from 1984 as a baseline (1984 = 100%) one would expect to see that the conference minimum (1984 = $14,528) and conference average salary (1984 = $18,160) would have made similar growth to the Consumer Price Index. The 2006 CPI is 204.5%. At this rate Conference Minimum (Cal-Pac 2006) should be $29,710. Compare that to the Conference Minimum for Elders (Cal-Pac 2006) at $23,372. If we had kept pace with increases in the cost of living the average salary (CAS) should be $37,137 (+ ~$25,000 housing + medical). Current CAC figures indicate it is much lower than that at $49,560 for the entire package. The adjusted figures are still lower than the 4-person median incomes for the state, and we hope that our clergy should be able to support a 4-person family on the salaries we provide.

At the very least one would hope that the California-Pacific Annual Conference would keep pace with the denominational pay raises. While the Cost of Living and the Consumer Price Index are both very high for the state of California versus the rest of the nation, the conference pays below the national average for minimum compensation and average compensation. Additionally, while earning power in California is higher than the national average, those who serve as clergy in the California-Pacific Annual Conference are underpaid compared to National Averages, including the Denominational Average Compensation schedule. In fact, the only Conference in the United States with a minimum compensation level lower than California-Pacific is the Yellowstone Conference. While young clergy in this conference have concern because our levels of compensation are not keeping pace with the cost of living within this annual conference or with increases in pay for persons with similar levels of education we are also anxious because most of us are carrying huge amounts of debt as we begin our pastoral careers.

The Median Income figures match regular cost of living increases for our region and help to frame the context outside of the educational cost that our pastors are incurring to be able to participate in the clergy at all. I know that I, David Camphouse, graduated with almost $100,000 in debt. If I exclude the car, and some of the luxuries I bought and put on my credit card, I still carried nearly $70,000 of debt into the ministry (which translates to almost $10,000/year in loan payments). This included some from undergraduate ($10,000), credit card ($5,000), student loans from Candler ($45,000) and a loan from the North Alabama Conference who had sponsored me coming through the initial stages of candidacy ($10,000). Other figures for young clergy are forthcoming, as they are currently being surveyed.

Currently, students at Candler School of Theology graduate with an average of $34,834 in loans to the school, which excludes any credit card debt they may have incurred paying for food and books while in seminary, transportation to and from internships/jobs and additional loans from local churches or Conferences or undergraduate degree programs. I have also requested this information from Fuller School of Theology and Claremont School of Theology. Claremont was unable to provide me with these figures, and I have not heard from Fuller as of this time.

I hope that this has helped to bring the problem into focus, and I look forward to helping devise a way to overcome and encourage the church into the new century, and equitable pay schedules.

By: Rev. David Camphouse, on behalf of California-Pacific Conference Young Adult Clergy

Contributors (The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the contributors, or the United Methodist Church): Rev. Molly Vetter, Rev. Catie Coots, Jan Hanson, John Camphouse, Cathy Wilson, Rev. George Crisp, Hans Smith, Kathy Smith, Shonda Jones and Rev. Erika Gara