Welcome to Board Connections, a newsletter from The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). If you have any feedback or would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please let us know.

This Thanksgiving, cultivate a grateful heart

Christians understand gratitude as a response to God’s grace. We have received an abundance of gifts beyond our deserving. During Thanksgiving, as we contemplate God’s grace, we are filled with wonder, humility, and gratitude. In such moments, God’s love is palpable.

Practicing gratitude and having a grateful heart also bring health benefits, according to health psychologists. Grateful people experience more joy and optimism, have a stronger immune system, and feel less lonely and isolated. Through gratitude we experience our interconnectedness — which is essential to wholeness.

Still, some people may find it difficult to feel grateful. According to Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and founding Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology, for a person to feel gratitude two things must happen: First, we affirm that there are good things in the world — gifts and benefits we receive, even if we haven’t earned them. Second, we recognize the sources of goodness as being outside ourselves — family, friends, community, God.

To enjoy Thanksgiving to the fullest, it’s important to reflect on all you have received and savor the present moment. Approach the day with an open heart, an appreciation of others, and an awareness that all gifts are from God. This Thanksgiving Day, let us recognize the many blessings in our lives and remember those who are not as fortunate.

Board hosts benefits gathering in Puerto Rico

Board staff recently went to Puerto Rico to provide benefits updates, one-on-one consultations, and a First Call, First Steps seminar entirely in Spanish. Language can be a barrier to employers administering benefits and members using them to best advantage. “That’s a key reason we brought this benefits gathering to Puerto Rico — to better serve them,” said Dr. José Irizarry, the Board’s Vice President of Education.

Approximately 50 people, including presbytery and congregational leaders, active and retired plan members, and seminary students, attended the October 26 event. Learn more about the event.

A Corp. receives donation for Marriage Equality Grants

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corp. received an anonymous donation of $45,000 to support the Assistance Program’s Marriage Equality Grants. A Corp. forwarded the gift to the Board, which established the grants last summer as a matter of justice to make whole same-gender domestic partners of Benefits Plan members who died before 2013. That year, same-gender domestic partners became eligible for child and spousal benefits, including the survivor’s pension. The Board earlier committed $45,000 from the Assistance Program to fund the grant program. Read more about Marriage Equality Grants.

Remember the Church on #GivingTuesday, November 27

Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, begins the season of generosity, a time to express gratitude for all we have received.

As you consider the many worthwhile programs you might support, please remember the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions or another Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ministry of your choice. The Assistance Program helps more than 1,000 Presbyterian ministers and church workers each year recover from disasters, live in dignity in retirement, and experience God’s love as they are restored to wholeness.

Your gift at pensions.org/give will make a real difference. Thank you!

Lower Fidelity fees mean more RSP savings

The Board of Pensions works closely with our business partners to ensure we continue to offer market-competitive benefits with exceptional value.

Fidelity Investments, the record keeper for the Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), recently announced

  • reduced expenses on most of its stock and bond index funds; and
  • a consolidation of index fund classes which allows for one, low-cost fund choice.

Bottom line: lower costs and greater savings for RSP participants who invest their contributions in index funds.

Want to know more? This Fidelity FAQ provides additional information about the fee reduction and consolidation of funds.

Call to Health returns in December

Congratulations to all those who answered the Call to Health!* While you focus on maintaining the healthy habits you’ve developed, we’re working to improve calltohealth.org for a new year. The website will reopen December 4 with new challenges to complete, new levels to achieve, and more ways to earn and redeem gift cards. Visit us then to explore the refreshed site and start earning points toward reduced deductibles in 2020.

*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.

The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer led the liturgy during worship at St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sunday, November 18.

If you have questions or need assistance, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, or email us at memberservices@pensions.org.

Subscribe to this email.