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GREAT GIG, REV.

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It’s been said that performing weddings is “a great gig.” Dress up, say the names right and you're out of there. It’s also believed clergy get tax breaks and unmerited perks.

Well, here are the perks and breaks. Clergy pay both halves of their Social Security. Like many, clergy are responsible for their own lives, including health insurance. If it rings, clergy cheerfully answer the phone at 3:00 a.m.

Clergy follow a tradition steeped in mystery. Because of a book, clergy have to convincingly explain the benefits of a personal relationship and faith in someone unseen and silent. Performing in public and under an oath, clergy are sometimes judged harshly and accused of ill motives or insincerity.

Concealing personal emotion, clergy pray with patients and anxious relatives in emergency rooms and intensive care units. Clergy announce the birth of a child or whisper the death of a loved one to families, sometimes in the same hour.

They accompany parents to their rebellious children's detention hearings. Clergy serve in the presence of convicted and sometimes dangerous felons. Mentally ill and people disappointed with God or a church target clergy with contempt.

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Clergy are often assumed a source to help pay for challenged people’s rent, groceries and utility bills. Families often turn to clergy to help settle volatile family disputes. Clergy spend some of the most valuable time away from their loved ones, serving evenings, weekends and holidays.

Clergy are eligible to become chaplains in the armed services and are sometimes killed or wounded in the line of duty. No other performer pays liability insurance because ministry is a profession.

No one is complaining, but those are the breaks. And yes, performing weddings is a great gig.

Arizona Ministers: it's not what we are, it's what we do.

By Phillip Waring
Arizona Ministers