This year marks an impressive anniversary for our Church. Three hundred years ago, in 1717, the Synod of Philadelphia was organized. One of its first actions established the Fund for Pious Uses. In so doing, the synod formalized, in the American colonies, a Presbyterian commitment to care for ministers and their families.

While that commitment lies at the heart of the Board of Pensions, A Theology of Benefits expands the framework for all we do. We developed A Theology of Benefits to help us understand our role in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I first shared it with you here, one year ago. It reminds us that a call to life abundant is central to Jesus’ teaching and in supporting that message, Presbyterians have long been committed to just compensation.

It’s through the Board that the PC(USA) helps congregations and other employers promote the spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being of church workers — or, life abundant. We offer income-replacement benefits: a defined benefit pension, a 403(b)(9) savings plan, and death and disability coverage. There is healthcare coverage and, in the Assistance Program, income and housing supplements for retirees as well as shared grants. Our educational programs reinforce all that we offer to support a ministry of wholeness.

This is how we lift up our family of faith, as Presbyterians have done for 300 years. I encourage you to view the video 300 Years of Serving Those Who Serve the Church. We first shared this with commissioners and advisory delegates at the 222nd General Assembly (2016).

Standing now at the three-century mark, we’re holding on to what has worked well in supporting traditional forms of church. Our redesign of the Benefits Plan for 2017 provides flexibility to support both those traditional forms and the newer forms of ministry that continue to emerge. More important, all benefits are structured to reflect the values of our community of faith. This is a plan for the Church, by the Church. It is sisters and brothers in Christ caring for brothers and sisters in Christ.

Over the last year we have shared our message and our vision. We serve congregations, new worshipping communities, mid councils, and other affiliated entities. We serve Presbyterian colleges, seminaries, continuing care and retirement communities, camps, conference centers, and youth homes. Yet, there are still thousands of church workers who could be served with benefits through the Board and are not.

At this very significant moment in our history, we ask that our family of faith work alongside the Board to bring more employees into the plan. Let your employment practices be a witness to Jesus Christ, the head of the Church. The more we serve through our Benefits Plan, the greater the value of being a connectional church. Join us in our mission to serve more, serve better, and serve the Church.

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.

300 Years of Service and New Era for Board

This year at the Board, we enter a new era ready to serve more, serve better, and serve the Church. We feel great honor, as we are charged with continuing the mission begun 300 years ago by Presbyterians in the American colonies who started the Fund for Pious Uses to care for pastors and their widows and children. Please watch our video 300 Years of Serving Those Who Serve the Church. From all of us at the Board of Pensions, who are dedicated to serving you every day, may God bless you and the ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the year ahead.

Salary Changes Now Online!

Employers can now update salary information online — quickly and conveniently — through Benefits Connect!

Any change to a member’s salary must be reported within 60 days of the effective date of the change.

For more information on how you can update salary information (e.g. cash salary, housing allowance, and any bonus amount), read Make Salary Changes through Benefits Connect! on pensions.org.

Always Use the Latest Board Resources

The Board has recently updated important resources for 2017, including

Board resources are updated frequently, so always make sure you’re working from the latest version. You can find the most up-to-date versions in Available Resources on pensions.org.

Teladoc: New Choice for Care

New this year, active plan members and your covered family members can consult a Teladoc physician anytime (24/7) for a $10 copay. Provided through Highmark, Teladoc offers phone and video consultations with doctors for common, acute issues, such as ear infections, sinusitis, or the flu. Although not meant to replace your primary physician or pediatrician, this care option can be especially helpful when symptoms develop in the middle of the night or while traveling.

Watch your mail later this month for more information on Teladoc. Make sure to pre-register with Teladoc soon — there is no charge and you can even earn Call to Health points for registering. Then, when you or a family member needs care, call 800-835-2362. You won’t have to spend time registering, and help is just a phone call away!

New ID Cards, New Care Option

By now all active Medical Plan members should have received a new Highmark ID card. On the front of the card you’ll see the new care option and copay: a Teladoc consultation for a $10 copay. If you have not received your new card, call Highmark at 888-835-2959.

RSP Improvements — New Fund and New Features!

The new year brings an added investment option and new features to the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP). For more information, read Retirement Savings Plan: Better than Ever in 2017 on pensions.org.

Updated Tax Tips Web Module Coming Soon

Tax Tips for Members and Churches – Tax Year 2016 will be available at Board University later this month. This annual resource helps active and retired teaching elders, treasurers, and churches understand recent tax law changes that affect income tax reporting and filing. The module will contain links to other helpful resources, including the Clergy Housing Allowance Web module.

Have a Healthy and “Whole” New Year

As you make your New Year’s resolutions, set the intention to answer the Call to Health.

This year at calltohealth.org you’ll find new challenges for all dimensions of well-being: spiritual, health, financial, and vocational. New challenges for the first quarter include Daily Prayer, Tone Up, Rebalance Your RSP Account, and Know Your Benefits: Teladoc, each addressing one of the four aspects of well-being.

Remember, active members and their covered spouses* each can earn a $100 Amazon gift card (in addition to lower medical deductibles) this year.

*Call to Health is available to active Medical Plan members and spouses covered through Highmark (PPO or EPO). Call to Health is not available to members or spouses enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan.

Highlighted E-Learning

To learn about the 2017 challenges and how to navigate calltohealth.org, view the updated web module Answering the Call to Health.

Seminars

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