Part of my pattern here at the Board is to share unscripted, informal meals with my co-workers. It fosters an open and welcoming environment for questions and suggestions. Last year, we had a breakfast each month, rotating the participants so that everyone had an opportunity attend.

This year we decided to move to lunch time and opened up the February event to everyone. Over 80 people signed up! It was meant to be a handful of us sitting around a table, having lunch and talking. Instead, it was many tables, all full of Board employees wanting to talk about our year ahead.

Part of this reflects the uncertainty in our national life together. I got a number of questions about the Affordable Care Act and what is going on in Washington. I had spent two days the previous week on Capitol Hill protecting church plans and church workers.

There is also uncertainty in our denominational life together with passionate conversations about the way forward and a vision for the PC(USA). My colleagues wanted to know where those things stand as well.

All of that uncertainty stands in contrast to a God who does not change. Our God loves us without ceasing. Our God keeps the covenant. Our God lived and lives among us. Our God is constant.

As the Board of Pensions celebrates 300 years of serving those who serve the Church, the themes of constancy and change intertwine. Our mutual covenant to care for each other has not waivered since the first synod was created in 1717. And yet, we recognize the need for perpetually updating our benefits to meet the needs of a church that is creatively discerning where God is leading us. We continue meeting the financial needs of those who have served the Church at the same time we are creating new programs to support abundant life among active members.

The last question at lunch was: “What’s your elevator pitch?”

It didn’t take me but a moment to respond, “The Benefits Plan is a great value. The Board of Pensions is a unique nonprofit in that it has the scale and the expertise to offer a set of benefits that is simply unavailable in the commercial world. But more than that, it’s the Church.”

The community nature of the plan, which says that those who earn less benefit disproportionately, is antithetical to the contract-driven marketplace. But it is the way of Jesus. The values of the Church are our values; we are the Church. A ministry of wholeness, community, compassion, justice — these are our values. The Benefits Plan is sisters and brothers in Christ caring for brothers and sisters in service.

That’s what makes all the difference.

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.

Celebrating PC(USA) Beginnings

Roots of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) run deepest in Philadelphia. This year, the Board of Pensions joins the Synod of the Trinity, Presbytery of Philadelphia, and Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) in joyfully celebrating our birth as a church community in America.

The Board is marking 300 years of caring for church workers, which began in 1717 with establishment of the Fund for Pious Uses in Philadelphia. Leading worship at the Board’s Board of Directors meeting March 10 will be the Reverend Ruth Santana-Grace, Executive Presbyter of the presbytery, celebrating its own 300th birthday.

It has also been 300 years since the synod first met, in Philadelphia as well. And PHS, in the city’s Society Hill section, is cheering the return to its rear garden of six Alexander Stirling Calder statues of early Presbyterian leaders, including Francis Makemie, the first moderator of the first presbytery in the America colonies; it first met in 1706, in Philadelphia. PHS plans a celebration in the city where our church community began and where hope for our next 300 years flourishes.

Board Launches Gatherings for Benefits Decision Makers

This month, the Board of Pensions launches its Benefits Connections series. Benefits Connections is a one-day gathering designed for those who make benefits decisions, such as business administrators, clerks of session, and members of Committees on Ministry. The day will cover the theological values that shape the Benefits Plan and provide time for questions and answers with Board leadership and staff. Ten seminars are scheduled this spring throughout the country. The first is March 28 in Pittsburgh. Read more on

Financial Well-Being: Life Lessons about Money

It’s hard to believe that March is here — and we are almost one-quarter of the way through 2017. If you missed the Rebalance Your RSP Account challenge at or forgot about America Saves Week, you can tend to your personal financial well-being by reading three life lessons about money, a Viewpoints resource from Fidelity Investments, record keeper for the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP). Read more …

Rising healthcare costs are a concern for everyone. This article is part of a series that can help you to understand and limit your costs while obtaining quality care.

Talk to Teladoc!

Did you know the Medical Plan offers a telemedicine benefit? For just a $10 copay, you can speak with a Teladoc physician. This resource is just a click or call away: or 800-Teladoc (835-2362).

When might you want to call Teladoc?

  • You need care now, and your primary care provider can’t see you at a convenient time.
  • You’re considering the emergency room or an urgent care center for a non-emergency issue.
  • You require medical attention while on vacation, a business trip, or away from home.
  • You need a short-term prescription refill.

You need to register before using this service, so register today — before you need Teladoc’s services! Plus, when you register and complete the Call to Health Teladoc challenge, you’ll earn 50 Call to Health points.

Board To Host 3rd Annual Well-Being Retreat

Save the date! Board University’s Well-Being Retreat 2017 will be held August 21-23, 2017, at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. All active Benefits Plan members are encouraged to consider this opportunity to experience wholeness by attending to the spiritual, health, financial, and vocational aspects of their lives.

To learn more, read Save the Date for Well-Being Retreat 2017 on

2016 and 2017 Tax Resources Available

The Tax Guide for Ministers for 2016 Returns has been mailed to active and retired teaching elders. The Tax Guide and Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches: What You Need To Know for 2017 are now available through Benefits Connect (search in Resources & Support).

The web module Tax Tips for Members and Churches – Tax Year 2016 from Board University provides helpful information about recent tax law changes that affect income tax reporting and filing, and contains links to other resources.

For additional information, please visit 2016 Tax Guide For Ministers and Other Resources Available on

Called to Wholeness

"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly," Jesus says in John 10:10. We are each called to wholeness — to live life abundantly.

Our health is central to this call; so, too, are our spiritual, financial, and vocational gifts. When these key dimensions of our lives are in balance, we are better able to serve others and share God’s love with the world. That’s why Call to Health promotes wholeness in each of us.

But what is wholeness? Seeking Wholeness with Call to Health explores this question and describes ways Call to Health* can help you flourish.

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

Highlighted E-Learning

Members, treasurers, and administrators may now view the Tax Year 2016 Edition of Tax Tips for Members and Churches to understand recent tax law changes affecting income tax reporting and filing.


Find upcoming seminars and locations

Are You Registered?

Have you registered for Benefits Connect? If you are not already taking advantage of all Benefits Connect has to offer, register today!

If you are registered, log on to explore all the features of the site. Members can find information on all their benefits and update their personal information. Employers can review their latest invoices and confirm and update member salary information. Visit Benefits Connect now to discover this and more.

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