I used to lead Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte. And before I became President and CEO of the organization, I was a Habitat volunteer for 25 years. I loved it. You show up with your heart open and your hands willing and go to work. That’s it. I think that’s how God calls us to work in the world. You don’t have to have everything figured out. You just need to be willing to join in with others to get the job done. That’s how I see our work at the Board and with others across the Church.

When I became President of the Board last summer, I pledged to make us a creative and engaged conversation partner. We all need to join in the conversation on how to be church. And we need to be inclusive. Let’s lift up voices less heard. That will help us find our way through change and come out stronger on the other side.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be speaking at the national gathering of NEXT Church, in Chicago. More importantly, I will be participating in vigorous conversation about theology, culture, and how we practice ministry in this time of change. Later this year, I will likewise attend The Fellowship Community event in San Diego. All of these conversations are critical in sharing the work of the Board in service to the PC(USA).

That’s why the Board is hosting three Regional Benefits Consultations (RBCs) this year instead of two, including one in the Midwest, in Chicago. RBCs give Board staff and those who attend from across the Church the chance to talk about the Benefits Plan. The breakout sessions are going to be smaller, too, making it easier to share ideas.

We host multiple forums with ministers and mid council representatives here in our offices throughout the year. Rather than giving them a rundown on issues facing us, we’re asking them how they’re experiencing the Benefits Plan. Their feedback is valuable because of the challenges facing the plan, including a growing number of alternative worshipping communities and the changing face of ministry.

Finally, as of today, you can talk to us on Facebook. You’ll find Board information on our page and also by following us on Twitter. Beyond that, you’ve got this newsletter, which we send to you every month, and The Board Bulletin, which should land in your email box this weekend. It will carry a summary of what the Board of Directors did during its spring meeting, which is Thursday through Saturday this week.

I know I can count on your willingness to be part of the conversation that’s so important to our Church. We’ll meet you there with open heart and willing hands.

Grace and peace,


The Reverend Frank Clark 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.

The Board Is Now on Facebook!

As part of our ongoing efforts to expand our communication channels and reach more of our constituents, we've launched a Facebook page. You can like our page to receive updates and information from the Board in your news feed. We invite you to share our stories and comment on them. Visit our new Facebook page and join in the conversation.

BoardLink Makes Bill Paying Easier

Last year, the Board improved site navigation and browser compatibility on BoardLink its online bill-pay system.

If you still use your bank’s auto-draft or online bill-pay system to pay Board invoices, now is a good time to think about signing up for BoardLink to avoid extra work and speed the process.

Consider these advantages:

  • BoardLink automatically identifies and matches your payment with your Board account number; unlike auto-draft checks that your bank sends to the Board’s lock box and that do not include your account number. These require a manual search by the Board’s accounting department to identify your payment and match it to your account, which can delay posting.
  • BoardLink payments are deducted from your bank on the date you designate, avoiding the possibility that your payment might be deducted from your bank account before the auto-draft check is mailed to the Board.
  • BoardLink automatically updates your dues amount if it changes; you don’t have to update the amount with your bank.

BoardLink offers these other features:

  • easy enrollment
  • future payment date setup
  • one-time setup for recurring payment on the same day each month
  • Recurring payments pay the amount billed; if dues change, you do not need to update the deduction.
  • Bills and payments are received electronically.
  • Report of payments and bills are available for six months.

For tips on how to use BoardLink, view or download BoardLink Helpful Hints. If you need assistance in signing up for BoardLink, contact us at invoices@pensions.org, or 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).

Fidelity Statements Have Moved Online

Fidelity is transitioning Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) account statements online, available via NetBenefits. The final RSP paper statement was received by participants in January (showing activity through December 31, 2014). See the March 3 pensions.org article Fidelity RSP Account Statements Have Moved Online for more information.

The Learning Connection: Online Courses Coming Soon!

Beginning May 1, Board University will launch The Learning Connection, a learning management system that will offer a limited number of online courses as a pilot to select members. Watch Board Connections and pensions.org in April for details about registration, courses, and format.

Board To Host Financial Well-Being Retreat at Montreat

Save the date for the Board’s first-ever Financial Well-Being Retreat for members Monday and Tuesday, August 17 and 18, 2015. This event will be hosted at Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina. Learn more in the March 3 pensions.org article Save the Date for the Board’s Financial Well-Being Retreat 2015.

Are You Due for a Screening?

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a reminder that colorectal cancer, the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States, is largely preventable — if you take the recommended steps.

Early Detection

If you are age 50 or older, follow the preventive schedule and get recommended screenings at no cost to you* through the Medical Plan. (If you’re high risk, earlier or more frequent screenings may be covered.) Colorectal cancer, if caught early, is highly treatable.

Prevention

In addition to getting regular screenings, you can reduce your risk of developing or dying from colorectal cancer if you

  • maintain a healthy body weight;
  • engage in regular physical activity;
  • eat a healthy, well-balanced diet;
  • limit alcohol; and
  • don’t smoke.

The symptoms of colorectal cancer aren’t always obvious, so if you’re due for a screening, make your appointment now. To learn more about colorectal cancer, visit the American Cancer Society website.

*If you are enrolled in Anthem, Triple-S, Cigna Global Health Benefits, or Medicare, you also have preventive care benefits, but coverage details differ; consult your plan’s provisions for details.

Let’s Talk Turnips!

March is also National Nutrition Month, a time to consider the link between nutrition and health. Did you know that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may help prevent some cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke — the diseases that kill most Americans? Scientists aren’t sure why fruits and vegetables are so good for you, but some suspect it’s because these foods are rich in antioxidants.

Nutritional experts say adults should have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Want more specific information or tips on how to change your diet? Nutritional counseling sessions, covered under the Medical Plan, may be one way to turn your diet habits around. And counseling sessions with a network registered dietitian or other licensed medical provider count as a health action for Call to Health. If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 30, you’ll have a copay of $25 per visit. If your BMI is 30 or more, you’ll have a $0 copay.

This Board Bulletin reports actions taken at the spring 2015 meeting of the Board of Directors, March 5-7, that affect plans and programs administered by the Board.

Highlighted E-Learning

Learn more about getting control of your financial situation. You can find all 10 lessons of the Personal Finance Series on pensions.org.

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!

Follow the Board on Twitter. Like the Board on Facebook.

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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