human care agency is the desire to work hard. “Don’t come in thinking it’s an easy ride,” warns Carter, a former consulting manager for KPMG Peat Marwick. “Most agencies must operate lean. That means your performance shows.”
A HIGHER CALLING
The Rev. Angelique Walker-Smith has led a life of achievement, but always in the service of what many consider the world’s richest employer, God. “Within the African American community, there are so many vocationally satisfying areas of faith-based work,” she says. “You can do ecumenical work, teach in seminaries and religious private schools, work on church staffs, serve as youth ministers and chaplains at prisons and hospitals, or pastor a church.”
Walker-Smith, 39, embodies the new breed of religious professionals who choose not to preach the gospel from a fixed pulpit, but instead work for ecumenical causes that “provide leadership in the urban community and help shape things for the better.” She was the first African American woman to graduate from Princeton Theological Seminary with a doctor of ministry degree in 1995. Three years ago, she became the first African American, first woman and the youngest person to head the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis Inc., one of the country’s oldest church federations.
She also was the only clergywoman from North America to be elected to the Central Committee (the top governing body) of the World Council of Churches at its seventh World Assembly in 1991 in Canberra, Australia. Greatly in demand as a speaker, Walker-Smith also hosts her ow
n television program on the local ABC affiliate and regularly appears on the Odyssey Channel program The Christian.
What do faith-based jobs pay? Depending on the denomination, size of the congregation or location, pastors, chaplains and rectors can earn anywhere from $15,000 to $ 100,000, which includes both housing and salary. The median range is $25,000-$35,000.
Prison ministries, paid by the city or state and the church, often range from the low $20,000s to the mid-$30,000s. Hospital chaplains, whose salaries are provided by grants from wealthy hospital foundations, well-endowed parishes or other sources, generally earn more. “Most traditional denominations, such as Episcopalian, Lutheran and Catholic, have what are called endowed parishes; they receive funds from foundations in addition to collecting money from their congregations,” explains Walker-Smith. “In contrast, Baptist or Methodist ministers are supported from what comes out of the collection plate.” Interestingly, for the sake of diversity, more endowed parishes are looking for people of color to fill jobs as chaplains, rectors and ministers.
Although each denomination sets its job qualifications and salary ranges, there are basic requirements for anyone interested in this field. “You can obtain your undergraduate degree in almost anything, says Walker-Smith, who majored in broadcast journalism and studied dance in college. For most professional-level jobs, such as administration or the ministry, the next step is to obtain a master of divinity (M.DV) or an M.A. in religion. For ordination, some seminaries also require alternative training such as clinical pastoral education, which teaches counseling skills. In some churches, youth ministers, assistant chaplains and volunteers