Earlier this year, we told you about the very generous grant the Board of Pensions received from Lilly Endowment. Lilly’s position is that you build and maintain strong congregations by supporting ministry. We agree. Through their research, Lilly has determined that one of the primary factors in pastors leaving the ministry is financial stress. These grants support the development of programs to slow that attrition.

Here at the Board, we’re developing educational programs to help congregations and pastors work through financial concerns that get in the way of a rich religious life. We’re taking these programs into the five presbyteries of North Carolina, where the Lilly grant is financing our three-year pilot project — Healthy Pastors and Healthy Congregations: A Financial Approach. Our goal is to shape Healthy Pastors in the pilot, then roll it out across the denomination.

The Board of Pensions has undertaken a transformational process to serve more, serve better, and serve the Church. Healthy Pastors is part of that. You’ve heard a lot about the redesigned Benefits Plan for 2017. We’re also redesigning our educational programs. Mindful of God’s wish that we all experience shalom, the flourishing of life, the program redesign goes beyond financial well-being. It includes spiritual, health, and vocational well-being.

To support this work, we gave our Church Consultants a bigger role in delivering educational programs. The Church Consultants (we used to call them Regional Representatives) are based in different parts of the U.S. and travel throughout their assigned regions. They are the face of the Board in PC(USA) churches and presbyteries.

Elizabeth Little is our newest Church Consultant. She serves the presbyteries in North Carolina. Her home base is Charlotte and her office is at Union Presbyterian Seminary. That’s where Elizabeth and I got to know each other as classmates. She brings an abiding faithfulness as well as impressive management and funds development experience to the role of Church Consultant.

Elizabeth has great love for our Church and deep knowledge of its workings. I’m grateful that she has answered this call to serve. She will play an important role in developing Healthy Pastors and other educational programs, and we will take them throughout the Church to strengthen, enrich, and sustain our ministry, proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace,

The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer

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 Executive Team Streamlines Board Decision Making

Board of Pensions President Frank C. Spencer has announced the appointment of five leaders at the agency to a newly formed Executive Team. This new alignment is critical to the Board’s position of serving more PC(USA) church workers, and to expanding educational opportunities to help pastors manage their ministries and churches manage their employment relationships in a changing church.

Benefits Connect: Critical Path to Enrollment

Log on to Benefits Connect to check out the site so you are ready for annual enrollment (October 17–November 11). Go to pensions.org; click Log On next to the Benefits Connect logo. If you’re not yet registered for Benefits Connect, see the Benefits Connect box on this page.

Employers: Use Employer Decision Support — through Benefits Connect — to model costs and select benefits to offer employees for 2017. Create and submit an Employer Agreement through Benefits Connect no later than September 30, 2016. You can also change contact information for the employer representative (formerly, authorized web representative), Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) representative, and/or billing representative and view member contact, service, and salary information.

Benefits Plan Members: Use Benefits Connect to elect 2017 benefits, based on your employer’s selections, during annual enrollment. Also on Benefits Connect, you can view contact and dependent information, review service information and benefits coverage, and estimate pension benefits at retirement.

Need Help Now on 2017 Benefits?

Time is Running Out; Create and Submit Your Employer Agreement Today

Employer Decision Support for the 2017 Benefits Plan web tutorial
Available in English, Spanish, and Korean

2017 Benefits Plan Employer Decision Support Guide

2017 Benefits Plan Summary

Board service representatives: 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).

Employer Agreements Due September 30

All employers must create and submit an Employer Agreement through Benefits Connect by September 30, 2016 — even if an installed pastor is their only Benefits Plan member. If employers don’t submit an Agreement, their employees will not be able to elect 2017 benefits during annual enrollment.

Employers must use Employer Decision Support through Benefits Connect to model benefits selections and costs for 2017. Employer Agreements are created through Employer Decision Support. The Agreement details the benefits they will offer employees during annual enrollment (October 17-November 11).

Registering for Benefits Connect is easy; see the Benefits Connect box on this page. For employer representatives (previously, authorized web representatives) who are already registered, IDs and passwords have not changed.

Annual Enrollment Is October 17 through November 11

Annual enrollment, your chance to review and change benefits coverage, will be October 17 through November 11. This year, employees will use Benefits Connect to enroll for benefits online. Look for more information about annual enrollment in coming weeks.

Resource for Churches and Other Employers Updated

The 2016 Benefits Administration Handbook for Churches and Employing Organizations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been updated! 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.

Seminary Student Enrollment Ends September 30

Annual Medical Plan enrollment for eligible seminary students began August 1 and will continue through September 30. For information about eligibility requirements and how to enroll, refer to the

For details about the Medical Plan, see the

If you have any questions about the medical coverage offered to qualified seminary students, please call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN). You can also find information on the Board’s website, pensions.org.

Call to Health Ends September 30!

If you haven’t completed Call to Health, there’s still time left — but not much! Remember to complete the required challenges and enough optional challenges to reach 1,000 points by September 30, 2016, to earn reduced deductibles for 2017.

If you’ve met your required challenges (preventive care visit and well-being assessment) and are well on your way to completing Call to Health by September 30, keep going! At calltohealth.org, there are enough challenges with points available that you should be able to reach 1,000 points by the end of the month.

And if you’ve already completed Call to Health, congratulations! Keep going on the path to better health and well-being!

*Call to Health is for members enrolled in the Highmark PPO or Anthem HMO only. It is not available to members enrolled in Triple-S, Cigna Global Health Benefits, or the Medicare Supplement Plan.

Put Your Retirement Savings in a Good Place

Does the idea of investing your retirement savings make you anxious? Whether you are a hands-on investor, prefer working with a professional adviser, or contribute to the RSP and invest in the plan’s Freedom Funds (target date funds), it’s important to review your retirement savings strategy each year to check your asset allocation — and get help when you need it. Find out what kind of investor you are and read How To Find a Good Place for Your Retirement Savings.

Board and Foundation Host Successful Well-Being Retreat

Over 100 participants came from as far as Colorado, Nebraska, and Texas to Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina for Well-Being Retreat 2016 on August 15-17.

Hosted by Board University in partnership with the Presbyterian Foundation, Well-Being Retreat 2016 provided attendees with an opportunity to rest and recharge as they explored the spiritual, health, financial, and vocational aspects of well-being through 22 workshops, a variety of morning and evening activities, fellowship, and times of quiet, personal reflection.

Attendee feedback was overwhelmingly positive, expressing appreciation for the spectrum of topics covered, the opportunity to experience hands-on learning, and the many thought-provoking discussions that took place in large and small groups.

Learn more in the pensions.org article Board and Foundation Host Successful Well-Being Retreat.

Awareness Month for Prostate and Ovarian Cancer

You know that September is the last month to complete Call to Health. But did you know that it’s also national awareness month for both prostate and ovarian cancer — and that awareness can lead to detection?

Your annual preventive care checkup counts as a required challenge for Call to Health. It’s also a good opportunity to discuss changes in your health with your doctor. Being proactive helps you stay healthy.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, behind skin cancer. But if it’s diagnosed early, the five-year survival rate is near 100 percent.

Nearly half of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the deadliest of the female reproductive cancers, live longer than five years beyond the diagnosis. A well-woman visit, which also counts as the annual preventive care checkup for Call to Health, includes a pelvic exam, which can reveal early signs of cancer.

Take September as a reminder to be proactive about your health — and to answer Call to Health at calltohealth.org.

Church Consultant

The Board is seeking applicants for the position of Church Consultant. This individual will be responsible for building and maintaining relationships with church employers and councils in a multistate region that encompasses Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Reporting to the Vice President, Church Relations, the Church Consultant will interpret and promote the plans and programs of the Board of Pensions, assist employers in understanding their responsibilities, and help them determine and implement benefit offerings. To learn more about this and other opportunities at the Board, visit Employment Opportunities at pensions.org.

Not Registered?


Have your Board 5-digit employer ID number (PIN), billing ZIP code, current invoice amount, and a valid email address.

Go to pensions.org; click Log On next to the Benefits Connect logo.

Select I am a new user on the Benefits Connect log-on page.

Select I am an employer representative on the Create User Profile Step 1 page.

Complete the employer registration form on the Create User Profile Step 2 page.

Check your inbox for the New Registration email; click the link to go to the screen to create your User ID and Password.

Enter your employer ID (PIN), then create a User ID and Password (click on blue question mark next to User ID and Password for setup criteria).

Benefits Plan Members

Go to pensions.org; click Log On next to the Benefits Connect logo.

Select I am a new user on the Benefits Connect log-on page.

Select I am a member on the Create User Profile Step 1 page.

Type in Social Security number, last name, birth date, and ZIP code on the Create User Profile Step 2 page. Accept the terms and conditions.

Create User ID and password on the Create User Profile Step 3 page (click on the blue question mark next to User ID and Password for setup criteria).

Highlighted E-Learning

Lesson 5 of the Basic Investment Series — Advisers — discusses considerations for working with investment advisers.


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