As a general rule, a pastor who preaches at a funeral service should be compensated with payment; he should also be personally thanked with a thoughtful, hand-written note. The note should be written on a nice card, and it should be kept separate from the honorarium, which is money given to the pastor to compensate him for services rendered.
Choose a quality card to use for your thank-you note. Don't write it on notebook paper, or print it out on printer paper. The card may be printed with a special verse you choose for the funeral, or it may just be printed with the words, "thank you." Use a black or blue pen to hand-write a note on the inside of the card, and use neat penmanship.
Write and sign the thank-you card on behalf of the family. Begin by addressing the pastor in a formal manner as per the tradition of the denomination. Although you may think of him as "pastor," he may prefer to be addressed as "minister" or by another title. Thank him for performing the sermon, and include a detail from the sermon that meant a lot to you. Perhaps the pastor cleverly inserted a funny or heartwarming story about the deceased into his sermon, and it made everyone smile. End the note with a traditional, but friendly, closing such as 'With warm regards.'
Honorarium compensation should be given directly to the pastor immediately before or after the funeral service. Etiquette states that he should be given an amount between $150 and $300, generally. Of course, the amount given is up to the family of the deceased. In general, the more services the pastor provides at the funeral, the higher the compensation should be. A thank-you card, on the other hand, can be sent up to four months after the funeral. It is best to send it within a few weeks, however, so that the pastor knows you are sincere in your gratefulness.
Oftentimes, pastors do more than simply preach the sermon at a funeral. They may visit the family of the deceased in their home to offer comfort. They may host the entire service or organize a reception afterward. With that in mind, be sure that your thank-you note encompasses all that the pastor did for the family. Finally, it is best to send it to the pastor's home address, rather than to the church, according to Funeralwise, a website filled with resources and information about funerals.
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