Congregational leaders and pastors attended the seminar, conducted in Spanish, at Aguada Presbyterian Church.
The Board of Pensions presented its first Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations seminar in Puerto Rico on November 14. Congregational leaders of three churches in the Synod of Boriquén and their pastors attended the seminar, conducted in Spanish at Aguada Presbyterian Church, in Aguada.
Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations provides financial education for ministers and congregational leaders and grants of up to $10,000 to qualifying ministers. After a three-year pilot in North Carolina, the Board rolled the program out nationally this year, but circumstances unique to Puerto Rico limited access there. At its fall 2019 meeting, the Board’s Board of Directors adapted requirements for ministers in Puerto Rico, nearly doubling the number of those eligible for the program.
“For this seminar, the overarching theme was the same, but there was a lot of effort put into translating not just language, but differences in benefits and taxes to ensure relevance,” said Church Consultant Keenan Rodgers, who led the two-hour seminar.
The seminars open a conversation for congregational leaders around pastors and finances, and the role that justly compensating pastors plays in church vitality. “Sometimes, they’re challenging conversations, but they’re necessary conversations,” Mr. Rodgers said.
“You need energy to carry debt and you need energy to be a minister,” said Andrew J. Browne, Vice President of Church Relations, who oversees Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations. “This program works to redirect a pastor’s energy to ministry, and to life, and to remind congregations that their support is critical, and faithful.”
While in Puerto Rico, Mr. Rodgers attended a synod meeting at Campamento El Guacio, in San Sebastián, along with Maria Perry, the Board’s Service Specialist for the synod. The two participated in worship, shared benefits updates, and provided one-on-one consultations, which Ms. Perry also did at the seminar.
Mr. Rodgers has distributed Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations information and documents to presbytery leaders throughout the synod. “It’s my hope that when I return to Puerto Rico in a few months, I’ll be able to conduct more seminars,” he said.