Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
— Gal 6:2
I’m Frank Spencer, President of the Board of Pensions. You know, we’re all dealing with this coronavirus pandemic. I’m writing to you from our offices at 2000 Market Street. And although I am here with a skeleton crew today, the majority of our workforce will still work remotely through the balance of this year.
The coronavirus has impacted every single family I know. It’s certainly true for my family. I have recovered from the virus itself. But of much more profound significance are the 35 deaths of members that we have had here at the Board, either retired members or active members. That’s 35 families who will never be the same.
Every congregation in the United States has had some impact from the coronavirus. And it is not just the illness or the grief, but it is also the economic impact. The Board has tried to step up and provide support where we can for individual members. We are paying 100 percent of coronavirus expenses in the Medical Plan, whether it’s for testing or treatment.
For congregations, we know that giving and revenue are down. We have provided dues relief to over a thousand congregations to try to help make ends meet and to individual members who are working in frontline roles, like the caregivers in our retirement communities. Our Assistance Program has provided direct financial support where a spouse has lost a job or a medical expense has created a hole in the budget.
The crisis continues. It is not behind us. This is present tense. The way the Church deals with so many of these immediate needs is through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions. We will continue to provide that support. In 2019, we made grants of almost $8 million, and the number will be higher this year, in 2020. Those grants are 100 percent of the donations that are given.
Donations come from individuals like you and me but also from the Christmas Joy Offering. Assistance will continue as we move into the fall. And as you think about your year-end giving, we hope that you will consider the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions. On the other hand, if you’re a member reading this and you’re in need, the Assistance Program is there for you, and we urge you to contact the Board.
We must all stay together. We are the body of Christ in the world. We are one in Christ. And so, let us live together. Let all who have need, have that need met through the Church. We’re glad you’re a part of the Board of Pensions, and may God bless.
Grace and peace,
The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer