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Clergy Cost for Funeral Service

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

Is it customary to give a monetary gift to the pastor and organist for funeral services? If so, how much is appropriate?


Pastor payment pending

Dear Pastor payment pending,

A monetary gift or honorarium to the pastor can be discussed with the pastor. Generally, if the deceased was a member of the church, then the pastor may prefer a donation to the church.

An honorarium can be given in the amount of $100 to $300 depending on what you can afford and how involved the pastor was with grief counseling and in preparation of the memorial service and funeral. Some areas of the country will be lower or higher. For example, an honorarium fee of $500 is suggested for the Memorial Church of Harvard University (

Fees for the organist, pianist, or soloist are normally set by the individual musician, so simply ask what his/her fee will be. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church suggests a fee of $250 for an organist that is paid prior to the service (