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Do you tip the pastor at a baptism?


Slipper
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My 8 year old daughter wants to be baptized. She has had numerous questions about religion and also other issues. Our pastor has met with us almost weekly for several months to discuss the Bible with her. As well, she had to talk to the session of the church about being baptized and agonized over that for several weeks. During that time he was encouraging and patient. He finally asked the session to meet on a night they typically don't meet, solely to be convenient to her anxiety. (They met after dinner on Wednesday night rather than their typical night).

 

When we married, we tipped the minister who officiated in a thank you card. Is the same done for baptism? And if so, how much? We are in a small church (Presbyterian denomination).

 

We won't be in town this Sunday, so I can't ask anyone until next Wednesday (three days before the Baptism). I'll double-check, but would like to know what others have done.

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I have never heard of this being done at a baptism. Usually a baptism is part of the church service, done on specific days during the year (this might very depending on your church).

 

Weddings are almost always a separate event, not done during a church service, so the pastor is doing an additional "job" so to speak, which is probably why he is tipped then.

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I'm Catholic. We've always given the priest a donation or stipend for things like these.

 

When possible, we give to him with a card at the end of the ceremony.

 

Sometimes it's more appropriate to later drop it off at the rectory or parish office.

 

I'd think for a baptism, a nice card with appropropriate donation could be handed to him post-ceremony. If it were me, though, and he would be joining us at a party afterwards, I'd probably drop if off at the rectory the next day. I'm Asian and we're weird about gift giving. ;)

 

ETA: it sounds like he's not merely performing the sacrament, he has also vested time and energy into preparing her for it. I don't know how Protestants do it (well, I live down the road from a very popular televangelist and he ain't hurting for a donation for services performed IYKWIM) but it sounds like a small church would offer the pastor a modest income and he's not in it for the bucks. I think a donation would be appropriate and appreciated. But I say that as a Catholic unfamiliar with your denominational norms so take that for what it's worth LOL.

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I have never in my life heard of tipping a pastor for baptism. (I'm Baptist.) "Shepherding the flock", which is what he is doing with your daughter, is the pastor's job. Performing weddings is not, but rather a service that he chooses to offer. If you would like to give a card showing your appreciation for the time he has spent with her, then I think that would be very appropriate.

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No tipping for a holy sacrament as a Presbyterian. It would be like tipping each time you take communion. Weddings and burials are not sacraments for Presbyterians so we can give gratuities. Would not give a burial gratuity if it was for a member the minister knows. I would simply thank the minister and make sure he knew we were making an extra donation to the church.

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Orthodox Christians offer the priest a "thank you" sum of money for baptisms and weddings. These are "extra" services, not the weekly (or more frequent) regular Communion services, so it is thoughtful, as well as customary, to show appreciation for the extra time and effort spent on a family's behalf. In actual practice, I don't know any priest who keeps the money. He always gives it away to a person in need, or just donates it to the parish general revenues.

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I've attended Baptist, Presbyterian, Christian & Missionary Alliance, and non-denominational churches and have never heard of tipping for baptism. I was baptized at the age of 23, my 12 year old was baptized last year, and my 13 year old is being baptized this Sunday.

 

I would consider having your daughter write a thank you note or draw a picture, expressing thanks for the time he took with her.

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I wouldn't. That would be like tipping him every time I received the Lord's Supper. It's a Sacrament, which is part of our regular church service.

 

For something like a wedding or funeral, outside of the Divine Service, then yes, but never for a Sacrament.

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When my dd was baptized, we made a nice basket of cookies and she drew a nice thank you note for the pastor who performed the ceremony. Although ours wasn't, I know that sometimes baptisms are a very large affair and involve some type of refreshments afterward. In those cases, I would definitely give a significant stipend to the church to help defray the costs of food and kitchen staff.

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Thank you for asking! This is something that would never have occurred to me, and it's so interesting reading the different replies. My FIL is a pastor and is the one who baptized me (I was engaged to his son at the time.) He also married us for free, and since he was paying for part of the honeymoon, it didn't occur to us to tip him for that, either. :tongue_smilie:

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I'm Catholic. We've always given the priest a donation or stipend for things like these.

 

When possible, we give to him with a card at the end of the ceremony.

 

Sometimes it's more appropriate to later drop it off at the rectory or parish office.

 

 

Ditto.

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I have never heard of Protestants tipping a pastor for doing a baptism. It's part of his ministry . I think most Protestant pastors would consider it kind of inappropriate to be given money for it, to tell the truth. I doubt they would accept it. What would be appropriate is a thank you note from you and a note from your daughter. Make it personal and it will be something he will treasure. He sounds like a lovely pastor.

 

Protestant pastors typically are given a gift for helping with weddings, because that is done in hours they are normally off and is not a sacrament.

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I have never heard of Protestants tipping a pastor for doing a baptism. It's part of his ministry . I think most Protestant pastors would consider it kind of inappropriate to be given money for it, to tell the truth. I doubt they would accept it. What would be appropriate is a thank you note from you and a note from your daughter. Make it personal and it will be something he will treasure. He sounds like a lovely pastor.

 

Protestant pastors typically are given a gift for helping with weddings, because that is done in hours they are normally off and is not a sacrament.

 

 

This is the answer I would give as a pastor's wife but my dh is the pastor of a non-denominational church. I used attend a couple of different Presbyterian churches however, and never saw it done there either.

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Is the baptism performed during the regular church service? It never occurred to me to tip. Our church baptized babies on one Sunday a month. Our children were baptized with others; it was precious and special. Honestly, it never occurred to me tip the preacher, the associate pastor, or the kids helping out. Isn't that part of their job? If your preacher is going out of his/her to help your child; you can show appreciation in many ways - money, a kind note, a beautiful hand sewn item (unless you can not sew like me) but you get my drift. Show your love any way you can.

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And the first time I've heard of baptisms not being part of the regular Sunday church service.

 

Our family of nine's baptism was 1.5 hours, or maybe a little more, long. :D Hard to picture it as part of the regular service.

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It's not called tipping. It's an honorarium you give for the extra time he spends. It's not generally part of the Protestant culture, like giving the pastor an *honorarium* for doing a wedding or funeral. In sacramental churches the baptism is a complete service unto itself - like a wedding or funeral service. So yes, often in Catholic and Orthodox parishes, the pastor is given a monetary gift.

It's not going to be something you're going the "see". Have you ever seen someone give the pastor an honorarium for performing a wedding? It's usually given sometime after the service or sent via the mail with a nice thank you note.

 

But again - it's not a tip. That's offensive.

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Well, I think we need to move away from the idea that this is tipping. It's not tipping. You tip a waitress, a maitre'd, a doorman. Catholic priests take vows of poverty and most of the time serve up to 4 services on a Sunday, and do daily mass'. On top of that, some administrate schools, make daily rounds to the hospital and offer reconciliation each week. Baptisims are on top of all that and are a whole other service (not meaning a service of commerce, but a sacramental ceremony) .

 

A monetary thank you is in order. He can do with it what he pleases.

 

Thank you, Princess, I forgot the word, an honorarium, yes.

 

OP, yes, I would. A card, quietly handed to him at the end of the ceremony. He has put in a lot of hours teaching her, and though I'm sure he doesn't expect it, it's a kind thing to do.

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DH is a pastor, and neither of us have ever heard of any monetary offerings for performing baptisms. It would make him feel awkward. He considers being asked to baptize someone (at our church the baptizee picks who does the baptizing) an honor and mutual blessing.

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I am a Presbyterian pastor, as is my husband, and I have never heard of honorariums for baptisms. For Presbyterians, at least, baptisms are celebrated in the context of weekly services of worship - not as private services like in Catholic or Orthodox traditions - and are a part of what the pastor is paid to do. If you really want to say thank you, I would suggest giving a donation in the pastor's honor to a charity you know he supports - in honor of him and your child's baptism. If you really want to do something, I think you could give an honorarium - but I have never known a Presbyterian pastor who would expect that. And I know lots and lots of Presbyterian pastors!

 

FWIW, when I have been the pastor of a congregation, I have never kept the honorariums from weddings or funerals for church members. Usually they have gone into a Pastor's Discretionary Fund that I then used to help those in need, or were used for professional expenses (lunches with members and such). I also never set a fee for members and told them I didn't expect anything - doing weddings and funerals for members was part of the job description. For non-members, however, I have always had set fees for weddings and funerals, and those were for my personal use as doing non-member weddings and funerals was not part of my job description. I would not have expected to be paid an honorarium for what you describe, however, and I have at times spent many months preparing someone for baptism.

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Hmmm...Jesus told his disciples to go out into all the world, preaching and baptizing. No mention of money exchanged. When Philip baptized the Ethopian it says nothing about him being paid even as thanks. So I'd go with what Scripture doesn't say as my basis for not offering money for a service commanded by God. :)

 

Since dh baptized both of our children (who have been baptized) it is really a nonissue.
My dh baptized our dc, too! What an uproar that caused at our now ex-church! Dd was baptized in the bathtub by her daddy with just our family and one close friend in attendance. It was great.
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Hmmm...Jesus told his disciples to go out into all the world, preaching and baptizing. No mention of money exchanged. When Philip baptized the Ethopian it says nothing about him being paid even as thanks. So I'd go with what Scripture doesn't say as my basis for not offering money for a service commanded by God. :)

 

But Scripture definitely talks about supporting the church financially. The OP's child is being welcomed into the church family, and it is only right to give something back to the church as a way of showing gratitude. Yes, baptisms are part of the pastor's job, so if it legitimately is a financial hardship to make a donation, then it's not an absolute necessity. But if the family can, then they should.

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I've heard from one young priest that he hates the "offering for sacrament" system, but Catholic priests in the US are paid $25-30K and even living in the rectory and not needing to support a nuclear family (though they often enough have other family that could use help), they really can use those offerings. He said the priests who have money independently will pass the offerings on to charitable use. Religious priests (i.e. priests who are members of religious orders and so have taken a vow of poverty) can't keep the offerings, and will always pass it on.

 

No priest, however, would pressure a family for money; it's a violation of Church canons to make the sacraments a matter of payment, and a Catholic who can't or won't offer a stipend/stole fee must and will be offered the sacraments anyhow.

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Orthodox Christians do not have "private" baptisms (or weddings). These are community events. Sadly, in modern times people have lost their understanding of the parish as their spiritual family unit, and you will, in fact, see baptisms (and weddings) celebrated as private events. As I said before, this is sad and contrary to the nature of those sacraments. All of my children were baptized with the entire parish invited. Our parishes throughout our marriage are like this. . . . Just wanted to correct the one observation that jumped out at me.

 

I am a Presbyterian pastor, as is my husband, and I have never heard of honorariums for baptisms. For Presbyterians, at least, baptisms are celebrated in the context of weekly services of worship - not as private services like in Catholic or Orthodox traditions - and are a part of what the pastor is paid to do. If you really want to say thank you, I would suggest giving a donation in the pastor's honor to a charity you know he supports - in honor of him and your child's baptism. If you really want to do something, I think you could give an honorarium - but I have never known a Presbyterian pastor who would expect that. And I know lots and lots of Presbyterian pastors!

 

FWIW, when I have been the pastor of a congregation, I have never kept the honorariums from weddings or funerals for church members. Usually they have gone into a Pastor's Discretionary Fund that I then used to help those in need, or were used for professional expenses (lunches with members and such). I also never set a fee for members and told them I didn't expect anything - doing weddings and funerals for members was part of the job description. For non-members, however, I have always had set fees for weddings and funerals, and those were for my personal use as doing non-member weddings and funerals was not part of my job description. I would not have expected to be paid an honorarium for what you describe, however, and I have at times spent many months preparing someone for baptism.

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Hmmm...Jesus told his disciples to go out into all the world, preaching and baptizing. No mention of money exchanged. When Philip baptized the Ethopian it says nothing about him being paid even as thanks. So I'd go with what Scripture doesn't say as my basis for not offering money for a service commanded by God. :)

 

My dh baptized our dc, too! What an uproar that caused at our now ex-church! Dd was baptized in the bathtub by her daddy with just our family and one close friend in attendance. It was great.

 

Hmmm...the RCC has both sacred scripture and sacred tradition, so that is why RCs have given the answers here that they have given. :-)

 

And in the RCC, anyone can baptize in an emergency, if someone's life was in danger.

 

 

 

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We Methodists, as a general rule, do not pay a fee or give a tip. Baptisms are considered part and parcel of the worship service which the pastor is already being paid to do. However, often there is a family get-together afterward and the pastor and his family are invited. Usually a thank you note is given and sometimes a family may purchase a restaurant gift card, however that's not necessarily common.

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But Scripture definitely talks about supporting the church financially. The OP's child is being welcomed into the church family, and it is only right to give something back to the church as a way of showing gratitude. Yes, baptisms are part of the pastor's job, so if it legitimately is a financial hardship to make a donation, then it's not an absolute necessity. But if the family can, then they should.

 

 

What denomination are you offering your perspective from? This seems very key in this discussion.

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Thank you for all of the interesting discussion. First, if I have caused offense by using the word 'tip', sorry. :) I'm not familiar with the proper words so I'm rather ignorant in that area.

 

Also, this will be taking place during the regular worship service on Sunday. I didn't word that correctly in my first post.

 

This is a small church. There is no assistant pastor, church secretary, or anyone I can call (I don't have the phone numbers for the elders). My daughter will be either the first or second child he's ever baptized (other than his own) so he probably has no set policy.

 

I am absolutely positive that he would not expect any type of gift or money.

 

I feel very strongly that I should do something nice for him and his family (we have started socializing outside of church). They have six kids and I don't believe his salary is high. Maybe a gift certificate to a restaurant?

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Thank you for all of the interesting discussion. First, if I have caused offense by using the word 'tip', sorry. :) I'm not familiar with the proper words so I'm rather ignorant in that area.

 

Also, this will be taking place during the regular worship service on Sunday. I didn't word that correctly in my first post.

 

This is a small church. There is no assistant pastor, church secretary, or anyone I can call (I don't have the phone numbers for the elders). My daughter will be either the first or second child he's ever baptized (other than his own) so he probably has no set policy.

 

I am absolutely positive that he would not expect any type of gift or money.

 

I feel very strongly that I should do something nice for him and his family (we have started socializing outside of church). They have six kids and I don't believe his salary is high. Maybe a gift certificate to a restaurant?

 

I think a gift cert. to a restaurant sounds lovely.

 

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I'm Catholic. Generally a donation or a "gift in thanksgiving" is made to the parish, as opposed to the individual priest. I believe the amount is usually left up to you, although it wouldn't surprise me if some parishes had a suggested amount. That being said, they can't refuse to baptize your kid if you can't afford to make a donation or something like that.

 

In your situation, the gift certificate and a nice note sounds fine.

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Ask people in your local church and denomination. Attitudes about what is the appropriate use of money and gifts for pastoral services are very different among different church groups. Some might surprised just how very different they are.

 

Where I come from people would view paying or tipping for such a thing negatively. Offering a gift instead of money would also would put the pastor in a very embarrassing situation. He would be expected to refuse. No one who witnessed someone trying to do so would talk about it openly because it would be considered gossip about someone's inappropriate, but good intentioned behavior. There would be, in a very private conversation with anyone who witnessed it, a reference to the OT ( I think it was the one about Naaman and his leprosy) where the assistant prophet went back and accepted gifts for himself while claiming it was on behalf of the prophet after the gifts had been refused by the prophet in the first place. Emphasis would be on the prophet refusing gifts in the first place. No, we don't pay preachers for weddings or funerals either. Most pay their pastors a salary and performing baptisms, weddings, funerals, sermons, counseling, baby dedications, etc. is what they pay that salary for because the NT does allow for paid pastors even though Paul was a tent maker so he wouldn't be dependent on church money.

 

At my current church there is no paid staff at all-all of our 4 elders (including the senior pastor) are "tent makers" of sorts. They are seminary trained and provide all pastoral services free of charge while working regular jobs to support themselves. We rent a private school gymnasium to worship in so money is only used to cover the cost of Sunday rent and all the rest goes to widows, assisting those in need, and supporting missionaries. If you want the church to pay for something, you have to go a church business meeting and answer one question, "Where in the Bible does it say the church should spend money on this?" You'll be expected to open your Bible and quote book, chapter and verse. That applies to the leadership who want to add new things at church expense.

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Hmmm...Jesus told his disciples to go out into all the world, preaching and baptizing. No mention of money exchanged. When Philip baptized the Ethopian it says nothing about him being paid even as thanks. So I'd go with what Scripture doesn't say as my basis for not offering money for a service commanded by God.

 

This is a toughie, because I'm sure there are lots of things in your Christian culture that Scripture doesn't specifically talk about and yet they're done. I don't know your church culture, but generally speaking I'm thinking of things like Sunday School, dedicating infants, altar calls, asking Jesus into one's heart, once-saved-always-saved, there being no pastor/priest, etc. (not opening a debate about these things, just commenting that there is MUCH in today's Christian culture that's not spelled out in scripture, so this argument doesn't really fly). This is where Holy Tradition is nice. ;)

 

To the OP, if the baptism is going to be a 5-10 minute affair in the middle of the normal service, then a hearty thank you is probably sufficient. The gift card sounds nice and I'm sure would be welcomed. In our situation, our baptism and wedding blessing (all in one day, nine of us in the family) was a separate event on a separate day, was open to the church community so there were quite a few people there, and was six hours from start to finish (from the time the pastor arrived to when we closed the doors after the casual reception). Heat, lights, the pastor's time, etc. All these things were things that had to be covered. The priest is not usually at the parish for numerous hours on Saturday afternoon. All that said, we were so new we didn't know about the idea of giving a thanksgiving offering to him; I'm guessing our parish did it for us as they covered many of the other expenses associated with our baptism.

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Orthodox6 - my apologies - I was posting late at night after several hours in the sun at a swim meet and my brain was not working so well. If I remember correctly, the Orthodox often have special baptismal services (not part of the normal Sunday worship of the community) and that is what I was thinking of - not them being private. But I mis-wrote and I am glad you corrected that. In the Presbyterian tradition, baptisms most often happen in the middle of a normal Sunday worship service, and what I meant to say was that in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, baptisms often/always are a separate service of worship.

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Please don't think that any apology is needed! I only was trying to dispel an impression frequently given by Orthodox people who often are unaware of how things have been done through the centuries, and accordingly treat baptisms and weddings as if they are private services. Holding an off-site reception (away from the church) afterward is a private party, and appropriately is organized as such, with guest lists. The actual sacraments of baptism and marriage, which take place inside the church, are public (i.e. parish community) events, and are supposed to be announced so that all who are able may attend and share in the joy of a significant occurrence for the community. When a reception following takes place at the church hall, it would be construed as inhospitable to exclude parishioners.

 

You are right that baptisms and weddings do not usually take place during the Liturgy, although centuries ago, they did. (We have a vestige of this in the baptisms occurring on Holy Saturday morning, immediately prior to the Divine Liturgy.)

Orthodox6 - my apologies - I was posting late at night after several hours in the sun at a swim meet and my brain was not working so well. If I remember correctly, the Orthodox often have special baptismal services (not part of the normal Sunday worship of the community) and that is what I was thinking of - not them being private. But I mis-wrote and I am glad you corrected that. In the Presbyterian tradition, baptisms most often happen in the middle of a normal Sunday worship service, and what I meant to say was that in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, baptisms often/always are a separate service of worship.

 

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Roman Catholic, but my mom's family are Episcopalians/Anglicans.

 

Just reading through the thread, it appears that it is appropriate in Catholic and Orthodox churches and highly inappropriate in Protestant churches. Don't know about Episcopalian Protestants.

 

Maybe part of the distinction is whether baptism is done outside the church service. In our church, they are usually part of the service, but sometimes are done outdoors in special services. Several baptisms are done at once. It would be a very rare circumstance for the baptism of one person to be done outside a church service. I'm not sure it's been done, but I could imagine some circumstances under which it would be done.

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Just reading through the thread, it appears that it is appropriate in Catholic and Orthodox churches and highly inappropriate in Protestant churches. Don't know about Episcopalian Protestants.

 

Maybe part of the distinction is whether baptism is done outside the church service. In our church, they are usually part of the service, but sometimes are done outdoors in special services. Several baptisms are done at once. It would be a very rare circumstance for the baptism of one person to be done outside a church service. I'm not sure it's been done, but I could imagine some circumstances under which it would be done.

 

 

Episcopalians & Anglicans have individual Christening services because I've been to several, but I'm not sure about the donation aspect.

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Episcopalians & Anglicans have individual Christening services because I've been to several, but I'm not sure about the donation aspect.

 

 

 

To me, it seems like if the service is just for you (or your child), that it is more similar to how Protestants regard presiding over a wedding ceremony (where a monetary gift is customary), because that, too, is specifically for the couple, though others are in attendance--and that my be the reason for the differences.

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Episcopalians & Anglicans have individual Christening services because I've been to several, but I'm not sure about the donation aspect.

 

I was baptized in an Episcopal church, as were my children, and it was during the normal Sunday service. However the priest did take time to meet with us ahead of time,for an hour, and go over a lot of stuff about baptism. I figured a gift card with a thank you note was appropriate.

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