Part 2 of a 2-part series.
My friend Roy Roberts, Director for the AGO Committee on Career Development and Support and AGO Region IV Coordinator for Professional Development, has written the following comments on last week's post on funeral fees. I like it all! The time has long been ripe for this dialogue between organists and their churches. So everyone go and do thou likewise. Thanks, Roy!
"Instead of the funeral home establishing the charge, in my case, the church has done so.
"My employer [the church] issued a pamphlet from which people [families] also select readings, music, and overview of the Mass. Also included are total fees (not individual fees). The funeral home cuts a check for the total fees, made out to the church. The church cuts checks to the individuals and records the taxes. Should there be additional rehearsal time (strongly discouraged) then separate arrangements are made.
"Advantage to the church's making the arrangements are 1) if a fee were to change, the church issues a new memo with the new total, 2) Taxes are withheld by the employer (church), 3) The church remains in charge of the service (it is not shared with a funeral home or family who wants a Disney tune as a communion song), and more. For those who have a "day job", I would assert again that the church should be the one making the agreements with the funeral homes and the funeral homes cut checks to the church rather than the individual.
"A sticky wicket could arise if the funeral home is "cutting the check". What happens should a funeral home call Susan Jones to cover a funeral at your church where you are under contract to have first right of refusal? The home says, not our problem that is between you and Bedside Baptist. The church says, not our problem; Creepy Funerals called the other person.
"It seems for every solution, someone can come up with some kind of challenge. Great article. It is certainly a start; funeral homes, churches, and organists need to discuss this topic more often."