"There are cool things coming" is the response one participant gave when asked what she had learned at Benefits Connections. "The BOP is working to stay ahead of the times."
The Board of Pensions used the second annual series of one-day gatherings, which concluded this month, to introduce additional offerings to the Benefits Plan for 2019 and talk about the employer incentive program
Pathways to Renewal, which goes live July 1, 2018. Pathways dramatically reduces Pastor's Participation dues for small congregations and innovative ministries.
"This year, we took Benefits Connections to 14 locations across the country, four more than last year," said the Reverend Dr. John G. McFayden, Executive Vice President and Chief of Church Engagement at the Board. "We are making the Benefits Plan more flexible, and we're continuing to provide congregations with more choices. These gatherings are a way to get information out, and to answer questions. But they also provide us with good insight into the needs of churches and their employees."
Attendance at Benefits Connections totaled approximately 375 people. Participants included business administrators, office managers, clerks of session, personnel committee chairs, pastors, and members of Committees on Ministry (COM) and Committees on Preparation for Ministry (CPM).
Benefits Connections is one way that the Board helps Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) employers be the best they can be. In addition to introducing new benefits and options, Board staff talked at the gatherings about the foundational values of the plan — wholeness, compassion, and justice.
"I found it helpful to hear the underlying philosophy behind BOP decisions as well as to get the details of what is offered and what will be offered in 2019," one participant said. "Now we can create a complete benefits package for our employees that shows them we care and that is cost-effective to the church."
Andy Browne, Vice President, Church Relations at the Board, said the agency is assisting congregations in caring for ministers and employers based on the congregations' resources and the reform underway in the PC(USA). "We introduced Pathways to Renewal, in part, to serve small congregations and innovative ministries," he said. "We want to join the Church in creating an environment where innovation and just compensation can co-exist."
The Board has made available the Benefits Connections
opening presentation and the presentation on
plan changes for 2019, along with
case studies that illustrate how benefits might be aligned with values. Congregations who have questions about the Benefits Plan for 2019 or Pathways to Renewal should contact their