Ordination recognizes the calling of an individual to a particular role. It is a deeply meaningful event in a person’s life. But ordination equally symbolizes an act of the community, acting in a hopeful way about the life of the Church.

My ordination this past weekend was wonderful for me personally. There were so many deeply meaningful connections — ministers who have guided me on my journey of faith, the organist from my wedding to Melanie in 1983, friends of my father, and ties to my Presbyterian minister grandfather.

Still, ordination goes beyond friends and family, and this is part of being Presbyterian. We’re a connectional church. Ordination is about the community that God gathers together. The beautiful stole the Board of Pensions presented to me at my ordination symbolizes the community’s call to me, to serve those who serve the Church as President of the Board of Pensions.

At my ordination, I promised to be a friend among my colleagues in ministry, to work with them. I promised to further the unity of the Church, and to serve the people “with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.” These promises carry a sense of urgency for me as we address the need for structural changes in the church Benefits Plan, and continue to address the needs of the Medical Plan.

Last month, John Hamm, who chairs our Board of Directors, and I traveled to Louisville to sit down with leaders of the other five church agencies, their Board Chairs, and Moderator Heath Rada. There is a real sense of renewed energy and commitment to common goals. Meetings like this are more important than ever. The effects of shifts in church demographics and congregational hiring patterns are being felt by all of us.

This is why God brings us together, so we can help each other. We will keep working, all together, as the leaders in our Church to ensure that we continue to care for those who do the Lord’s work. That’s a promise.

Grace and peace,


The Reverend Frank C. Spencer
President

Welcome to Board Connections, the newsletter for The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This publication highlights recent Board news and important updates and information. We hope you find this newsletter useful, and we welcome your feedback at any time.

New for 2015: Key Resource for Churches and Other Employers

The 2015 Benefits Administration Handbook for Churches and Employing Organizations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is now available! This handbook can help church treasurers, clerks of session, and business administrators in their role as benefits liaison to the Board, providing practical information on such topics as enrolling members in coverage and calculating and paying dues, among others.

To request a print copy of the handbook, please call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) and speak with a member service representative.

2014 Investment Review Released

The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has released the 2014 Investment Review of the Board’s Balanced Investment Portfolio — We Are Believers: Pascal, Occam and Kant: A Wager, a Razor and the Golden Rule. The Review discusses the investment results for the period ended December 31, 2014.

Call to Health Web Module Updated for 2015

Have you recommitted to Call to Health for 2015? Want more information on the health actions you need to complete by October 1, 2015, for your best health now and lower deductibles in 2016?

View the updated Call to Health Web module from Board University! Designed to complement the Board’s other informational publications, this e-learning module introduces the program and health actions in a format designed for all learning preferences.

Make the Most of America Saves Week, February 23-28

In honor of America Saves Week — February 23-28, 2015 — give your savings efforts a boost and pledge to save 1 percent more in the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP), or another workplace savings plan, or personal savings.

Does 1 percent matter? This seemingly small step can be a manageable, but effective, way to impact your financial future. Visit fidelity.com/pledgeasw for an example of how 1 percent can boost retirement income.

If you don’t currently save in the RSP or your employer’s plan, contact your plan administrator to learn how to start saving 1 percent. If you already save in the RSP, consider saving 1 percent more. For information, call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) to speak with a member service representative, or Fidelity at 800-642-7131 to speak with a Workplace Planning and Guidance Consultant.

America Saves Week is an annual campaign promoting good savings habits and retirement planning. It started in 2007 and is coordinated by America Saves, the Consumer Federation of America, and the American Savings Education Council.

New Year: Time for a Retirement Savings Checkup!

The new year is a perfect time to take a look at your retirement savings strategy and make changes if needed. Follow Fidelity’s 5-Step Retirement Checkup to stay on track. Questions? Call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) to speak with a member service representative, or Fidelity at 800-642-7131 to speak with a Workplace Planning and Guidance Consultant.

Give Your Heart a Valentine

It’s American Heart Month, a reminder to be kind to your heart. Are you exercising? Eating heart-healthy meals? When was the last time you had your blood pressure and cholesterol checked?

If you (and your heart) are due for a checkup, now is a good time to schedule your annual preventive exam with your primary care provider. And checkups between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2015, satisfy one of the requirements of Call to Health, helping you to achieve your best health now and lower your deductibles for 2016.

So show your heart you care: Schedule an appointment for your checkup today. And be sure to get your scheduled preventive care screenings and tests. Your loved ones, and your heart, will thank you.

Open Wide!

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, the perfect time for children and parents alike to brush up on good oral health habits, such as learning proper flossing technique and avoiding tobacco products. Use the observance as a reminder to schedule you and your children’s dental visits for the year, if you haven’t already.

Keep in mind that your preventive dental exam now counts as an additional health action for Call to Health. You don’t have to be enrolled in the Board’s Dental Plan to get credit for your exam. Go to myactivehealth.com/pcusa, log in, and from the left menu, click on Call to Health. On the Complete 2 Additional Health Actions card, click Work On It. Then, next to Dental Exam, use the calendar to enter the date of your exam to certify completion of this health action.

2014 'Tax Guide for Ministers' Available

The Tax Guide for Ministers, updated for the 2014 tax year, was recently mailed to active and retired teaching elders. It is also available on Benefits Connect, accessible from pensions.org. The Web module Tax Tips for Members & Churches has been updated as well. Tax Tips is in the Tax Resource Center of Board University, which can be reached from the Members & Employers menu on the pensions.org home page.

'Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches' Updated

The Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches has been updated to provide guidance for the 2015 tax year. It is available on Benefits Connect, accessible from pensions.org. The Web module Tax Tips for Members & Churches has been updated as well. Tax Tips is in the Tax Resource Center of Board University, which can be reached from the Members & Employers menu on the pensions.org home page.

Highlighted E-Learning

Members, treasurers, and administrators may now view the tax year 2014 edition of Tax Tips for Members & Churches to understand recent tax law changes affecting income tax reporting and filing.

Seminars

Find upcoming seminars and locations

Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches and Tax Guide for Ministers Are Available on Benefits Connect

Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches and Tax Guide for Ministers are available only on Benefits Connect. You can find links to each document in the Online Tools section of Benefits Connect.

The Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches for the 2015 tax year provides step-by-step wage reporting and withholding instructions and information about situations specific to filing various federal forms. Employing organizations whose billing address is in the United States and that are currently receiving a monthly invoice from the Board of Pensions can have one authorized Web representative registered for Benefits Connect.

The Tax Guide for Ministers for the 2014 tax year is available to members and employing organizations that are eligible for Benefits Connect. This guide provides recent tax information that teaching elders can review when preparing their federal income tax returns.

If you are not already taking advantage of Benefits Connect, register today!

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If you have comments or feedback on this newsletter, please let us know at communications@pensions.org.

If you have questions, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) and speak with a member service representative.

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We hope you'll share your favorite photos by sending them to photos@pensions.org.
Please note the name of your church, city, and state as well as a contact name in your email.
Keep in mind that submission of a photo to this email box constitutes permission to publish.