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Should A Pastor Make Six Hundred Thousand Dollars A Year?

Posted by Job on May 20, 2009

Contributed by a supporter

New Riverside Church pastor says his raise was Lord-approved – $600,000 in salary and perks during recession

BY Bill Egbert

Monday, April 27th 2009, 4:00 AM

*Apr 26   00:05*Giancarli for News

Rev. Dr. Brad R. Braxton, Pastor of The Riverside Church.

Related News


The incoming pastor of Riverside Church broke his silence over his massive pay package Saturday, saying God was behind him as he took the reins of the iconic Manhattan sanctuary.

"God told me all week, ‘I got you.’" the Rev. Brad Braxton said to thunderous applause.

Braxton was installed as senior pastor despite some parishioners filing a lawsuit to trim his $600,000 in salary and perks.

The minister, a former professor at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, ascended to the pulpit to cheers from the congregation of 2,700.

Braxton, 40, tackled the controversy over his compensation, saying critics were "mistaking molehills for mountains."

In a sermon titled "Fear Not," Braxton vowed his priority would be "the sacred business of moving mountains."

Braxton, the married father of a young daughter, launched into his list of lofty goals, including promoting condoms to curb AIDS in Africa, immigration reform and gay marriage.

"I wonder if that will make the front page of the Daily News," the preacher said in reference to The News’ page one headline last week, "Furor Over 600G Pastor."

News columnist Juan Gonzalez chronicled congregational infighting over Braxton’s pay package, which includes a monthly housing allowance of $11,500 in addition to a base salary of $250,000.

Billy Jones, chairman of the Church Committee, challenged the facts of the lawsuit from the pulpit, saying Braxton’s annual compensation tops out at $450,000.

Jones insisted that Braxton’s base pay was similar to what his predecessor made and his perks do not include a full-time maid or any "equity payment" to help him buy a house.

The bulk of the congregation applauded when Jones noted that a judge denied a motion to delay Braxton’s installation.

Parishioners like Naomi Griffin, 63, a 25-year member of the church, praised Braxton as "a spiritual man" and blasted the lawsuit as the work of idle minds.

"These dissidents don’t seem to want to do things right," Griffin said.

At a service last night, Gov. Paterson, who was married at Riverside 17 years ago, said Braxton’s "rare combination of skills" made him the right man to lead the church.With Erica Pearson



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