More than 260 presbytery and synod executives and stated clerks, and representatives of all six agencies, attended the third annual Mid Council Leaders Gathering, October 18-20, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland. The gathering is co-sponsored by the Board of Pensions and Office of the General Assembly.
At the 2019 Mid Council Leaders Gathering, Board leaders highlighted steps the agency is taking to support the Church in response to changing demographics. These include continuing to broaden access to, and expand choice in, its benefits and programs and addressing affordability issues.
The Board’s mission is to foster wholeness in ministers and church workers so they can “devote their best gifts, without undue distraction, to the mission and ministry of the Church,” said the Reverend Frank Clark Spencer, the Board’s President.
To that end, Board leaders presented agency initiatives designed to support congregational ministry, including Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations, Pathways to Renewal, and expanded debt assistance for ministers. They updated church leaders on Sabbath Sabbatical Support Grants, which were broadened to include ministers serving as interims or in other temporary pastoral relationships, as well as those serving as mid council leaders.
They also reported on grants for enrolling organizing pastors and evangelists in full benefits coverage, introduced earlier this year, to help seed new church development. And finally, Board leaders lifted up the agency’s greatly expanded educational offerings through Board University.
For the second consecutive year, Board leaders called on mid council leaders to do their part to address the gender compensation gap documented in Living by the Gospel. They reminded the gathering that the 223rd General Assembly (2018) urged Committees on Ministry to study this document, a guide to structuring terms of call, and, among other steps, provide it to Pastor Nominating Committees and incoming committee members. The data shows that female ministers are paid 14 percent less than their male counterparts.
Rev. Spencer invited church leaders to partner with the Board in its efforts to support the vitality of the Church. “To flourish, God’s people need ministers and others called to church vocations,” he said.
The Board of Pensions looks forward to continuing to expand its offerings, broaden access to benefits and assistance, and serve more, serve better, and serve the Church.