Last month I shared with you the ecumenical work that the Board of Pensions does through the Church Benefits Association and the Church Alliance, broad coalitions of Christian and Jewish traditions, which bring collective wisdom and effort to preserving and enhancing benefits to those who serve our faith communities. This month, we continue in that vein with a more focused ecumenical ministry.

CREDO is a Christ-centered program of wholeness and wellness. It focuses on individual needs in the realms of spirituality, physical and emotional health, financial security, and vocation. CREDO was created by the Episcopal Church specifically for its parish priests, knowing that healthy clergy contribute to healthy congregations. Each CREDO retreat is led by a faculty team of eight experts.

The Board of Pensions licensed CREDO for our denomination 10 years ago and since then over 1,700 Presbyterian ministers have experienced a reaffirmation of call and a renewal of creativity through the program. Our CREDO faculty now number 48, and we are continuing to expand and will host 11 conferences in 2016. CREDO has become a major focus of our educational programs and CREDO principles are part of the foundation on which our benefits design is constructed.

Over the years, we have been working with the Episcopal team to refine and improve CREDO. One of the developments is CREDO for recently ordained pastors, which I am proud to say the Board is offering to all newly ordained teaching elders who become members of the Benefits Plan. We are convinced that the time for reflection combined with solid coaching from experienced mentors will help our new ministers live more fully into God’s call to ministry.

Just last year, the CREDO circle expanded and the United Church of Christ licensed the program. We are excited that adding yet another tradition will enrich and advance the curriculum further. I have already seen a glimpse of that future.

Last week, I spent six days with leaders of the PC(USA), the Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Christ engaged in a CREDO conference. Our agency heads and ministers spent time with Episcopal bishops and UCC Conference leaders. While these ecumenical relationships were deepened, the greatest value of CREDO is individual discernment and commitment.

What a gift and what a joy to suspend daily work and focus on God’s call in each of our lives!

We each came away with deeper self-awareness and mindful commitment to our own individual goals for faithful life and work. A copy of our confidential individual plan is held in trust and will be mailed to each of us one year from now. Talk about accountability!

When that envelope arrives, I hope that I will see that with God’s help, I have been able to continue faithfully on my path.

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.

Pension Plan Experience Apportionment Effective July 1

As reported in the spring 2016 Board Bulletin, a 2 percent experience apportionment for the Pension Plan is effective July 1. An experience apportionment is a lifelong increase in pension benefits for retirees and eligible survivors and an increase in accrued pension credits for active and terminated vested members.

As of December 31, 2015, the plan’s funded status was 123.7 percent, which the Board attributed to strong plan oversight and aggressive risk management in a year of global market volatility. To learn more about the experience apportionment process, visit Will the Board grant a Pensions Plan experience apportionment? on pensions.org.

800-PRESPLAN: Great Service for Members, Dedicated Resources for Employers

The Board has reorganized its Member Services team to better serve members and employers.

Plan Operations (formerly Member Services) now offers separate, dedicated teams for Member Services and Employer Services. To learn more, read 800-PRESPLAN: Same Great Service for Members, Dedicated Resources for Employers on pensions.org.

Lilly Endowment Awards Grants to Board, Presbyterian Foundation

Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded the Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian Foundation each a $1 million grant as part of its National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. For more information, read the press release.

Board, NEXT Church Launch New Website for Newly Ordained Pastors

The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and NEXT Church have collaborated to launch NEXT Connect, a website of resources to assist newly ordained PC(USA) pastors as they navigate the early stages of ministry. The site provides links to information and support in four critical categories: health, financial, leadership development, and clergy community.

Visit the new site today at nextconnectpcusa.org.

Saving Is Important, Especially for Women

Researchers find that many women don’t feel confident making financial decisions because they don’t understand their options, don’t have experience, or don’t know where to find the best advice. Be sure to read Why Women Need To Save More than Men for timely resources for all employees — especially women — in saving and investing for the long term.

Board University Offers Benefits Plan Foundations Course

Last call to register for the March offering of the Board University online course Benefits Plan Foundations. This course is open to active plan members through The Learning Connection. Registration is limited and available on pensions.org. Read more …

Board To Host Well-Being Retreat at Montreat

Save the date! Board University’s 2016 Well-Being Retreat will be held Monday through Wednesday, August 15-17, 2016, at Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina. Active Benefits Plan members are encouraged to consider this opportunity to experience wholeness through the spiritual, physical and emotional, financial, and vocational aspects of their lives. To learn more, read Save the Date for Well-Being Retreat 2016 on pensions.org.

Stay on Track with Call to Health

Have you checked out the new Call to Health website yet? At calltohealth.org, you’ll find a variety of whole-health activities, including designated challenges for which you’ll earn points. Earn 1,000 points by September 30, 2016, to reduce your 2017 medical deductibles — and enjoy better health and well-being!

Not sure what you need to do to answer the call? Check out these resources:

In April, watch your mail for a personalized card showing your 2017 medical deductibles. Your card will show what your deductible will be if you complete Call to Health — and if you don’t.

Only the plan member (employee) needs to complete Call to Health to earn reduced individual and family deductibles for 2017. However, covered partners are welcome and encouraged to try out the resources of calltohealth.org.

Learn how to lower your 2017 medical deductibles. Review the available resources and get started on Call to Health today!

Call to Health is available only to members with medical coverage through Highmark PPO and Anthem HMO. Call to Health is not available to those enrolled in Cigna Global Health Benefits or Triple-S, or to retired members covered by the Medicare Supplement Plan.

March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer, the third most common cause of cancer death in the U.S., is largely preventable — but only if you take the recommended steps. Are you due for a screening?

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, there are other ways to reduce your risk of developing or dying from colorectal cancer. Medical experts advise people to maintain a healthy body weight; engage in regular physical activity; eat a healthy, well-balanced diet; limit alcohol; and quit smoking.

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.

This Board Bulletin providing information on actions taken at the spring 2016 meeting of the Board of Directors, March 3-5, that affect plans and programs administered by the Board.

Highlighted E-Learning

Members, treasurers, and administrators may now view the Tax Year 2015 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 2016 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 2015 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 service representative.

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