… let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

Heb 12:1-2

The weather has finally turned cooler here in Philadelphia and as Thanksgiving approaches, my thoughts turn to those whose stewardship the Board of Pensions relies upon.

While the commitment to mutual care for those who serve the Church dates to our very founding, in September 1717, I want to share a little more modern history, because we collectively owe a great debt to those who created our modern Benefits Plan after reunion in 1983 and those who have maintained it ever since.

At the time of reunion, the Board of Annuities and Relief was located in Atlanta and led by the Reverend Phil Noble. The Board of Pensions was located in Philadelphia. Phil agreed to move to Philadelphia to serve as Board Co-President with Art Ryan, combining the assets, liabilities, members, and employees of the two plans. It was a gesture of great goodwill in knitting back together the national community of Presbyterians.

The Chairman of the newly combined Board was also the architect of our Pension Plan. His name was Dr. Dan McGill. Dan was a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He combined a brilliant skill in actuarial science with a profound love of the Presbyterian Church. It was Dan who structured the Pension Plan, creating a long-term sustainable model that emphasizes compassion and community nature.

Dan wrote about our unique structure saying, “The dues paid in respect of a particular member bear no necessary relationship to the benefits he or she may receive.” Now that is how you combine economics with a witness to Jesus Christ.

In addition to the Pension Plan, the Board also maintains the Assistance Program, which supports income and housing needs of our retired ministers and other workers when the pension falls short. It is funded by the Christmas Joy Offering and by direct gifts from generous Presbyterians. Not surprisingly, Dan left a gift to the Assistance Program in his will.

Following Phil and Art as President of the Board was John Detterick, who was then succeeded by my predecessor, Rob Maggs. Many faithful women and men have chaired the Board over the last 30 years.

No telling of our recent history would be complete without mentioning our Chief Investment Officer, Judy Freyer. Celebrating her 29th anniversary with the Board this week, Judy continues her amazing work as a member of our Executive Team. Starting with a balance of just about $2 billion in 1988, under Judy’s leadership the balanced portfolio has paid out over $5.1 billion in benefits and grown to a current balance of $9.3 billion.

So today, with all Presbyterians, I am thankful for those who laid our foundations and for those who labor still. My daily prayer is that God will grant us the wisdom and energy to continue the amazing legacy with which we have been entrusted.

Grace and peace,


The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer
President

It’s Time To Elect 2018 Benefits!

Annual enrollment, your chance to review and elect benefits coverage for 2018, runs through Friday, November 17. Don’t miss this opportunity to make sure you have the benefits coverage you need for 2018.

Be sure to log on to Benefits Connect by November 17 to make your elections for 2018 benefits. For more information, read Annual Enrollment Is Here! and visit pensions.org.

Pastor’s Participation Dues Calculator Now Available

You told us that an online dues calculator is extremely helpful in estimating monthly and annual dues — and we listened! As a result of this valuable feedback, we have relaunched our Dues Calculator as the new Pastor’s Participation Dues Calculator on pensions.org.

Employers, mid councils, and members can now calculate monthly and annual dues for those in Pastor’s Participation. Dues are based on the percentage of annual effective salary and minimums and maximums for the selected year, unless otherwise noted.

To help determine annual effective salary, the calculator also includes a link to Calculate Total Annual Effective Salary. Click on the link, complete the components of effective salary, and choose Calculate. Select Done, and the total will carry back to the calculator.

Visit pensions.org to give the new Pastor’s Participation Dues Calculator a try!

Last Call for Call to Health!

This year’s Call to Health* closes November 17, 2017. If you still need points to earn reduced deductibles or a gift card, there’s still time — but you need to act fast! You can get

  • lower individual and family deductibles for 2018 (1,000 points for members); and
  • a $100 Amazon gift card (2,000 points for members; 1,000 for covered spouses).

Sign in now at calltohealth.org from your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

To help put you over the top, check out calltohealth.org for the Annual Enrollment challenge. To complete the challenge, log on to Benefits Connect during annual enrollment (through November 17) to review and elect benefits for 2018, then complete the Annual Enrollment challenge on calltohealth.org for 50 points.

Once Call to Health ends November 17, calltohealth.org will be closed until December 5, when it will reopen for a new year of wholeness challenges.

If you’ve already completed Call to Health, congratulations and thank you!

*Call to Health is available to members and their 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.

Financial Well-Being Challenges Pay Off for Determined Minister and Family

The Reverend Phil Brown and his wife, Kara, the parents of two young children, were already leading active, healthy lifestyles. Then they decided to take on the financial challenges offered by Call to Health. The results are impressive. Read more.

Are You Flip-Flopping on Retirement?

According to Fidelity Investments, record keeper for the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP), “No matter how near or far you are from retirement, learning how to manage debt, save smartly, and invest wisely can take you a long way toward financial security later in life.” Read Save & Invest and Are you flip-flopping on retirement?

Learn More about the RSP

To learn more about the RSP, visit pensions.org or read the RSP Benefits Overview. To find out how to manage your RSP account on Fidelity NetBenefits, read about enrolling in and managing an RSP account. If you still have questions, call Fidelity at 800-343-0860 (mention plan #57887) or the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) and speak with a service representative.

Check Beneficiaries and Earn Call to Health Points

Active Medical Plan members can earn Call to Health points through November 17 by checking that their beneficiary designations for the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP) are up to date. Read more.

Forget the Flu! Remember Your Flu Shot!

Every year, up to 20 percent of the population gets the flu, but you can take steps to prevent it by getting a flu shot. Even if you’ve already had the flu, getting the shot is recommended because it protects against several different flu viruses. Medical Plan members and covered family members can receive an annual flu shot at no cost. Just show your OptumRx card at your network pharmacy or your Highmark card at your doctor’s office during a well visit.

And, you’ll get 75 points for completing the Arm Yourself against the Flu challenge when you record the date of your shot on calltohealth.org.

Your immune system needs about two weeks from the vaccination date to build the necessary antibodies. Get your shot in the next week or so, and you’ll be protected by the time family and friends gather around the table to give thanks.

Highlighted E-Learning

View Effective Salary: Why It’s So Important To Get It Right for a helpful refresher on how effective salary is used to calculate benefits and dues for church workers and their families.

Seminars

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