Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect.

— Rom 12:2

Over the last few weeks, I have been seeing Facebook pictures of the first day of school. The smiling faces range from pre-K to doctoral candidates. If we’re lucky, learning never stops.

Lifelong learning is part of our call from God. We are responsible for “renewing” our minds. Seeking to discern God’s will is an ongoing process; we need to keep it up if we’re to carry out the holy work of exhibiting the kingdom of Heaven to the world. Throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) lifelong learning is encouraged and supported.

The Board provides educational programs that center on a ministry of wholeness. They promote spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being. When these key dimensions are in balance, we’re better able to serve others.

The well-being of our pastors is very important to the life of the Church. When our pastors are secure, it promotes healthy congregations. Last year, we received a Lilly Foundation grant to establish Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations in North Carolina. The program supports efforts to help congregations and pastors work through financial concerns that get in the way of a rich religious life, and we plan to take it nationwide.

Ministers also receive support through CREDO. Midcareer pastors attend a seven-day, residential conference, giving them time and space for spiritual renewal. One midcareer pastor told us, “CREDO helped me reclaim my call to ministry.” Recently ordained pastors take part in a week of discernment and goal setting, followed by a year of one-on-one coaching, and then a second week of conference activities.

While CREDO is education by invitation, Board University, which houses most of our educational offerings, is available to everyone — members, employers, and mid council leaders. Much of what it offers is free, including the e-learning modules, which cover a range of topics, from answering Call to Health to basic investing. Board University also sponsors face-to-face seminars, many focused on financial wellness, and an annual well-being retreat, held last month at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Lifelong learning is essential to the mission of our Church. It serves to strengthen and sustain us on our journey of faith, enabling us to carry on with our holy work.

Grace and peace,


The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer
President

For Those in the Path of Hurricanes …

Our prayers are with those whose lives have been disrupted by recent hurricane activity. As the Gulf Coast region struggles in the aftermath of Harvey, Puerto Rico is emerging from Irma, even as Florida braces for its landfall. We continue to update information on healthcare services and other assistance as we receive it from our business partners. In addition, the Board offers invoice payment arrangements; emergency grants may also be available. Look for updates on pensions.org, Twitter, and Facebook.

Welcome to Board Connections, a newsletter from 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.

Get Ready for Annual Enrollment!

Annual enrollment is October 30 through November 17. It’s your chance to review and change your benefits coverage for 2018.

To get ready, start thinking about how well your benefits work for you. Review the healthcare services you’ve used in the past year and consider whether your current coverage will meet your needs next year. Are there other options available to you, through a spouse’s employer, for example? Would coverage other than what you have now better suit your needs? Then, take action during annual enrollment to ensure you have the coverage you want effective January 1, 2018.

Employer Agreements Due October 13!

Employers, if you haven’t done so already, log on to Benefits Connect today to view your current benefits and select benefits for 2018. You have until October 13 to review, update, and submit your Employer Agreement, which will determine coverage available for employees to elect during annual enrollment, October 30-November 17, 2017. Help employees prepare by asking them to consider their current coverage and any changes they might need to make for next year through Benefits Connect. See Get Ready for Annual Enrollment! above.

Need more information and help? Go to the expanded pensions.org section.

Board Responds to Changes in Ordered Ministry Titles

The Board will incorporate changes in ordered ministry titles through 2017 and into 2018 as it updates its communications materials, both digital and print. The changes, including from teaching elder to minister of the Word and Sacrament, result from amendments to the Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The 222nd General Assembly (2016) proposed the amendments and the presbyteries ratified them. Read more on pensions.org.

Don’t Miss Important Information from the Board

If your contact information on Benefits Connect is not up to date, you may be missing important news from the Board of Pensions.

  • Members: To update your contact information, log on to Benefits Connect and choose About Me, then My Contact Information. Review your address, phone, and email information, and update if necessary.
  • Employers: To update your Employer Profile, including employer representative, billing representative, and RSP representative, log on to Benefits Connect and choose Employer Profile, then Contact Information. Click on the pen icon to change information or the appropriate orange button to add a new contact (Add RSP Representative, for example).

As we approach annual enrollment for 2018 benefits (October 30-November 17, 2017), it’s more important than ever that the Board can reach you at a current email address and by telephone. Update your contact information on Benefits Connect today.

Have You Considered Your Income after Retirement?

A sound retirement savings strategy focuses on more than accumulating funds before retirement. It’s also important to plan ahead so that your investments and other sources of retirement income last throughout your retirement years ― 20, 30, or more years after you stop working.

Take a moment to consider your sources of retirement income and how well they will meet your income replacement needs by reading the pensions.org article or this Fidelity Viewpoints post, Where will my retirement income come from?

Call to Health Helps Restore Pastor to Himself — and to Wholeness

After a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease shook the Reverend Dr. Thomas Schacher’s world, he was lost. Unmoored. Disconnected from himself. Gradually he realized he was abdicating himself to the disease, and he knew he had to do something. That something was Call to Health, and no one was more surprised than he that this initiative, with its multidimensional challenges and social components, could have such a profound impact on his well-being. Call to Health helped him “regain more of whom God has created me to be,” he said. Read more on pensions.org.

Board and Foundation Host Third Annual Well-Being Retreat

Lovely and grace-filled event. The location was stunning! Well done in every regard.

These were just a few of the many affirmations received from attendees at Well-Being Retreat 2017, held at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, August 21-23.

A total of 90 Benefits Plan members (including retirees) and spouses traveled from 26 states to focus on wholeness — through workshops, fellowship, activities, worship, and moments of quiet reflection along the largest alpine lake in North America.

This was the third annual Well-Being Retreat hosted by the Board of Pensions, in partnership with the Presbyterian Foundation and its subsidiary, New Covenant Trust Company. Workshops focused on the spiritual, health, financial, and vocational aspects of well-being, and were led by facilitators from a variety of backgrounds — including members of the clergy, spiritual directors, counselors, dietitians, healthcare professionals, wellness coaches, lawyers, and financial advisers.

Read more on pensions.org, and consider joining us for Well-Being Retreat 2018!

Networking Opportunity for Older Adults and Those Who Serve in Older Adult Ministries

If you are a retired member and/or spouse or an individual who serves in an older adult ministry, the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network (POAMN) invites you to join it. POAMN is a network of Presbyterians who are older adults or who are engaged in ministry with older adults, in congregations, presbyteries, synods, or other organizations related to adult ministry. Its purpose is to

  • raise awareness of issues facing those who are or serve older adults;
  • develop and share resources;
  • train leaders who minister to older adults; and
  • advocate on behalf of older adults.

For the past seven years, POAMN has collaborated in annual conferences and other programs with the now-discontinued Association for Retired Ministers, Their Spouses and Survivors (ARMSS), which shared similar interests and goals.

For further information, visit poamn.org.

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

Find upcoming seminars and locations

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