Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matt 6:10

We have marked the first Sunday in Advent. Only a week earlier, we celebrated Christ the King Sunday. Just before the liturgical year opens in hopeful anticipation of Jesus’ birth, it concludes in celebration of the promise the birth holds — the Kingdom of God breaking into our world.

What falls between these two liturgical bookends is the work of transformation. As Paul writes to the Romans, “… be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God.” This is never-ending work, striving to do “what is good and acceptable and perfect,” in Paul’s words.

Caring for those who serve the Church is also the work of transformation. 2017 is the bookend to 300 years of Presbyterians caring for those who exhibit the kingdom of Heaven to the world. It concludes three centuries of striving for “what is good and acceptable and perfect” in upholding our covenant to support church workers.

In 1717, Presbyterians in the American colonies established the Fund for Pious Uses to care for ministers’ widows and children. Through the 300 years that followed, the Church grew and needs changed. The mission of care was always transforming. Today, on behalf of the Church, the Board of Pensions administers retirement, medical, death, and disability benefits, and provides financial assistance and educational programs to promote spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being.

But the work of transformation continues. As we enter the liturgical year with renewed hope for Kingdom breaking-in, the Board enters its next 300 years of service. We do so hopeful that through transformation, we will serve more, serve better, and serve the Church. And by helping those who do kingdom work to flourish in the holy and human endeavor of ministry, may we realize God’s will on earth.

Grace and peace,


The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer
President

Welcome to Board Connections, a newsletter from The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This publication highlights recent Board news and important updates and information. We hope you find this newsletter useful, and we welcome your feedback at any time.

Special Lapel Pin Recognizes Dedicated Service to PC(USA)

The health and vitality of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) depend on the dedicated service of all who have answered God’s call. So, in celebration of 300 years of serving those who serve the Church, the Board of Pensions commissioned a special lapel pin. All active and retired members of the Benefits Plan have received, or will soon receive, a pin in the mail.

The pin features the symbol of the Church and 1717, the year Presbyterians in the American colonies established the Fund for Pious Uses to care for pastors and their families. The pin was produced in silver for active members and in gold for retirees.

The Board hopes that the pin will serve as a reminder of the Church’s appreciation and ongoing care. The dedication of all who serve to the ministry and mission of the Church has been and continues to be a blessing to others.

Board Monitoring Activity on Tax Bill

The Board of Pensions is monitoring progress on the tax legislation in Washington. Board leaders are particularly focused on pieces of legislation with the potential to affect employers served by the Board as well as Benefits Plan members and retirees. The Board knows many are following the debates with concern, and will provide relevant information, when available, through email and/or on pensions.org.

Need Assistance with a Coverage Matter? Call the Board!

You’ve called your provider; maybe it’s your doctor or a hospital. And you’ve called the administrator, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield or OptumRx, for example. And, still, your concern is unresolved. What to do? Contact the Board! We’re here to help members, retirees, and others with Benefits Plan coverage. So, if you need assistance, call 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).

A New Year of Call to Health

A new year of working on all aspects of wholeness — spiritual, health, financial, and vocational — started December 5.

Call to Health will work the same as it did this past year: To answer the call, complete the required challenges and other challenges you select — many of them fun — to earn points. Members who accumulate at least 1,000 points will earn reduced deductibles for 2019. In addition, members who earn 2,000 points and covered spouses who earn 1,000 points will each receive a $100 Amazon gift card.

What’s new is the array of challenges you can participate in. You’ll find many new challenges, along with some old favorites. Throughout the year, new activities will be offered to help you answer the call. Get started today, then come back to calltohealth.org often to see what’s new!

Call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 if you have a question about challenges or points. If you have a question about registering on the site or a technology issue, contact support@limeade.com or call 855-451-6754.

The View from the Top: From Short Steps to Hiking for Miles

The Reverend Dick Powell, President of Mo-Ranch Assembly, found in Call to Health the key to making significant changes to his health and well-being, starting with “small, short steps, metaphorically and literally.” Now he’s lost more than 30 pounds and hikes miles at a time. Read more in the pensions.org article.

Over 300 Church Leaders Attend Mid Council Gathering

The Board of Pensions joined with the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) to co-host the Mid Council Leaders Gathering, an event that combined the former Regional Benefits Consultations (RBCs) and Fall Polity Conference. More than 300 elected and volunteer leaders of mid councils from throughout the country attended the gathering, October 15-17 in St. Louis.

Gathering together, at one time and in one place, for integrated purposes conserved time and resources for all. To share the messages of the Mid Council Leaders Gathering throughout the Church, the Board and OGA videotaped much of the two-day meeting. See the Videos page of pensions.org.

New Drug Formularies Are Here

The 2018 drug formularies (lists of covered drugs) for the active Medical Plan and Medicare Supplement Plan are now available on pensions.org. The plan formularies are reviewed each year and may be updated.

Before filling a prescription in the new year, check to see if your medication is on the 2018 formulary. It’s especially important to do so if you’re enrolled in the EPO medical option because the EPO does not cover non-formulary drugs. The PPO does cover them, but your out-pocket cost will be higher than when using generics or formulary brand names.

If a drug you now take is not on the 2018 formulary, you may want to discuss with your physician whether there’s a formulary drug that would be appropriate for you. If so, you’ll need a new prescription.

If you have any questions, contact OptumRx at 855-207-5868.

December: Time for a Financial Checkup

December is a good month for a financial well-being checkup, something that financial experts recommend at least annually. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Should I change my savings contributions? (Increase because of a promotion? Decrease because of a job change?)
  2. Have my retirement goals changed? (Estimated retirement year? Estimated expenses after retirement?)
  3. Should I change my beneficiaries because of a qualifying life event (marriage, birth or adoption of child, divorce) or other change in circumstances?
  4. Should I change my asset allocation and diversification because of any of the above?
  5. Am I taking maximum advantage of the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP)? (Participating? Saving as much as possible?)

For some quick ideas on how to approach your financial well-being checkup, see Fidelity Investments’ Financial checkup: know your 3 key numbers. To learn how to make the most of the RSP, read Enroll in the Retirement Savings Plan or visit pensions.org.

Feeling Financial Stress during the Holidays?

Many people feel financial pressure this time of year. If you think you could benefit from debt counseling or other professional financial advice, help is near. Through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Medical Plan members, spouses, and other household members have access to an array of free financial services.

Contact Cigna Behavioral Health at 866-640-2772 or visit www.cignabehavioral.com for professional financial advice and services.

Don’t let your finances ruin the holidays: Take the first step to get financially fit!

Highlighted E-Learning

To learn about the 2018 challenges and how to navigate calltohealth.org, view the updated web module Answering the Call to Health.

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If you have questions, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) and speak with a service representative.