Our history

​For more than 300 years, The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and our predecessors have cared for generations of Presbyterian ministers and their families.

 

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In 1717, Presbyterians gathered in Philadelphia for the first meeting of their first synod and established the Fund for Pious Uses.

The first individual to receive assistance from the Fund was the widow of the Reverend John Wilson of New Castle, Delaware. Today, Mrs. Wilson is just one of many thousands of people who have benefited from the 300-year-old commitment to care for those who serve the Church.

After the Fund was established, Presbyterians steadily expanded care for church workers, as captured in the video 300 Years of Serving Those Who Serve the Church.

Expansion of coverage

In the 19th century, they set up societies to care for disabled pastors who could not support their families. And in the 20th century, they began providing retirement benefits and medical coverage. Eventually, Presbyterians extended coverage to all church workers.

Today, the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) covers more than 60,000 people in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia:

  • ministers and employees of congregations, church agencies, mid councils, and PC(USA)-affiliated employers;
  • family members; and
  • retirees.

The Benefits Plan took effect January 1, 1987, following the 1983 reunion of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) and United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA). The plan incorporated and expanded the benefits provided by both the PCUS and UPCUSA.

The Board of Pensions is the church agency that administers the Benefits Plan, which includes retirement, medical, and death and disability benefits. The Board also provides financial assistance and educational programs to plan members, active and retired, and their families.

Serve more, serve better, serve the Church

In fall 2014, the Board initiated a transformational process to serve more, serve better, and serve the Church. Listening sessions were held throughout the Church over a year. These sessions revealed that while the commitment to provide comprehensive benefits to installed pastors remained strong, more options were needed to increase plan participation.

As a result, the Board redesigned the Benefits Plan. The redesign, effective January 1, 2017, enabled more congregations and employers to provide benefits to more ministers and employees.

We stand upon generations of stewardship and have been charged with protecting that legacy for future generations. The Board of Pensions protects those who have served the Church, those in service today, and those who will serve in the future.