Board University expands offerings, supporting arc of ministry

January 24, 2019

​Now is a great time to explore educational opportunities offered by Board University. We provide opportunities to learn and grow with peers who share similar interests and challenges no matter what your stage of life.

​Just as the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is no longer one-size-fits-all and now serves diverse employers and employees affiliated with the PC(USA), so too is Board University evolving to serve more, serve better, and serve the Church.

In 2019, Board University is branching out to meet the educational needs of Benefits Plan members where they are. “No matter whether you are just starting out, in mid-career, or ending active service, we are committed to educating minister members throughout the entire arc of ministry — and employee members at various stages of their lives,” said the Reverend Dr. José Irizarry, the Board’s Vice President of Education.

Our educational offerings promote spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being while providing learning opportunities for our members.

In-person seminars

Board University recently added seminars for members at both ends of the career spectrum: one for seminarians and another for retiring — or retired — plan members.

We now offer First Call, First Steps at Presbyterian seminaries around the country for seminary students who may seek calls in congregational ministry. This seminar highlights the importance of financial health, gives inquirers and candidates for ordination in the
PC(USA) tools to navigate the call process, and helps them understand the potential impact of benefits coverage on their futures. As demonstrated in Living by the Gospel, a guide to structuring calls authorized by the 223rd General Assembly (2018), benefits are important to sustaining ministerial leadership.

“The seminar encourages students to advocate for their overall well-being when in conversation with PNCs and APNCs,” said the Reverend Lori Neff LaRue, Director, Wholeness Education, for the Board. “A well-structured terms of call can have a significant impact on the quality and duration of one’s ministry.”

Last year, the Board launched the Third Act Seminar & Luncheon for all retired members and surviving spouses. The seminar content for Third Act changes annually. For 2019, the seminar focuses on brain health, a topic researchers are beginning to better understand. Attendees will learn what practices can help limit cognitive decline as we age and how to identify the early warning signs for brain-related illnesses.


In their emphasis on reaching members throughout the career spectrum, the new seminars follow the lead of Presbyterian CREDO, which offers conferences for clergy throughout the arc of ministry: recently ordained ministers, mid-career pastors, and late-career pastors. CREDO is by invitation only.

The late-career CREDO conference introduced last year is a recurring conference this year. It is for pastors ages 56 through 70 who have served in congregational ministry for at least 10 years and are currently serving a congregation.

New for 2019, a one-time African American CREDO conference, co-hosted by Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, will be held in October. “This is an example of our reaching out to a more diverse audience, in new ways, as well as increasingly collaborating with other Presbyterian-affiliated entities. We expect to offer a special CREDO such as this one each year,” said Dr. Irizarry. “CREDO conferences really can be transformative, helping the mind, body, and spirit of the pastors who participate. They are a gift to be shared.”  

Well-Being Retreat

Board University also annually offers Well-Being Retreat in partnership with the Presbyterian Foundation and its subsidiary, New Covenant Trust Company. This year, Well-Being Retreat will again be held at Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, North Carolina. Each Well-Being Retreat provides opportunities for attendees to explore different dimensions of wholeness. All plan members, active and retired, are invited to attend, as well as spouses and surviving spouses.

Centered on the theme Life is more, this year’s retreat encourages participants to explore a life centered in Christ and various aspects of spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being. Workshops are designed for the different ages and stages of life (under 40, 40-65, and over 65/retired), with topics ranging from a Theology of Possessions to Caregiving to Wills and Estates, among others.

No matter where you are in the arc of ministry or your stage of life, check out Board University’s offerings, which also include webinars, e-learning modules, and educational resources. Make a commitment to learning your whole life long.