Skip Navigation Linkschurch-workers-financial-vocational-needs

Church Workers with Financial and Vocational Needs

When an urgent financial need arises that cannot be met through personal and other resources, the Assistance Program may be able to help active and certain retired PC(USA) church workers with assistance in the form of

Church workers participating in the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) also may be eligible for

In addition, the Assistance Program offers programs to help support ministers so that they might devote their best gifts and energies to serving the Church. To be eligible, a teaching elder must be enrolled in the Benefits Plan in Pastor's Participation.

Shared Grants

A Shared Grant is recommended (initiated) by a mid council, an employing organization, or multiple bodies of the Church willing to share equally with the Board in the cost of providing the grant to help with one-time financial needs or emergency situations. The Board carefully reviews the need and available resources, deciding each case on its merits.

How To Apply

To apply for a Shared Grant, pastors should contact their mid councils; other workers should contact their employers.

Emergency Assistance Grants

An Emergency Assistance Grant may be awarded to help an active church worker with a one-time need when a mid council or employer is unable to participate in a Shared Grant because of insufficient funds. The applicant must satisfy the following requirements:

  • First applies for a Shared Grant, and the mid council or employer verifies, in writing, that no funds are available for its portion of the grant.
  • Commits some personal resources toward the expense and makes every effort to obtain any funds available in the community.

The Assistance Program will consult with the mid council or employer to confirm the need for assistance and ensure that other resources for a Shared Grant have been exhausted and no community resources are available.


Emergency Assistance grants may not exceed $5,000 each and $15,000 per year.

How To Apply

To apply for an Emergency Assistance Grant, pastors should contact their mid councils; other workers should contact their employer.

Adoption Assistance Grants

Adoption Assistance grants are available for each dependent child you adopt who is under age 21. The grant is intended to help with adoption-related expenses, including

  • medical expenses not reimbursed by the Medical Plan;
  • adoption agency fees;
  • placement fees;
  • attorney’s fees;
  • related travel expenses; or
  • home study fees.

At the time of the adoption, you must

  • be an active member of the Medical Plan;
  • be employed by a local church, council, General Assembly agency, or an organization under the jurisdiction of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); and
  • enroll the adopted child for coverage in the Medical Plan.


These grants are for a fixed amount: $3,000 per child.

How To Get a Grant

After the adoption has been finalized, provide the Board with the following:

For a domestic adoption

  • the final adoption decree

For an international adoption

  • the final adoption decree
  • a copy of the child’s passport or written permission to remove the child from his or her native country

Transition-to-College Assistance Grants

This grant program is intended to help eligible families of entering college freshmen with transitional expenses such as

  • a computer purchase;
  • dorm furnishings.

A one-time grant is available to qualifying plan members whose employer is under direct governance of the PC(USA), whose household's adjusted gross income does not exceed $116,000, and whose college-bound child is a dependent enrolled in the Board's Medical Plan. The child must be enrolled full time at an accredited college or university.


Amounts range from $500 to $1,000, depending on the family's total household income.

How To Apply

Grant applications for the 2017-2018 academic year will be accepted between August 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. Complete the Transition-to-College Assistance Grant Application and return it with the required documentation to the Board at the address listed on the form.

Minister Educational Debt Assistance Grants

The Minister Educational Debt Assistance Program will be expanded, effective July 1, 2018. As a result, the eligibility guidelines and grant amounts listed below will change. For more information, read Minister Educational Debt Assistance Program Expanded in the Spring 2018 Board Bulletin.

The Minister Educational Debt Assistance Program helps early-career ministers repay educational debt. This relief makes it easier for ministers to accept a wide range of positions and wholly commit their best gifts to ministry. To qualify, you must

  • be a PC(USA) minister in your first six years of ministry;
  • be enrolled in Pastor's Participation in the Benefits Plan;
  • have an effective salary below the congregtional teaching elders' median salary ($58,000 for 2018 applications);
  • attend Getting in Shape Fiscally, a one-day financial planning seminar offered by the Board of Pensions at your seminary or presbytery, or attend a CREDO conference for recently ordained pastors (see the Board University section of for more information); and
  • make application through and receive permission from your presbytery. (Note: Presbyteries that submit applications are expected to have a policy on student/clergy indebtedness.)


Grants of up to $2,500 per year, for up to four years, are awarded. Total awards may not exceed $10,000 over four years.

The funds available and number of grants awarded each year is limited. Awards are at the discretion of the Board of Pensions. The Board considers the financial means, the nature and amount of the applicant's debt, and other factors, as appropriate.

Sabbath Sabbatical Support Grants

The Sabbath Sabbatical Support Grant Program allows eligible pastors of small churches to seek a stipend towards a sabbatical. The program helps provide an opportunity for pastors serving small congregations to take time away from the demands of the job and engage in a period of personal and professional renewal. These grants are intended to supplement the financial aid of congregations, foundations, mid-councils, or other contributors. You must

  • be a pastor who is currently serving a congregation of fewer than 200 members;*
  • have served your current PC(USA) congregation for at least six years;
  • be enrolled in Pastor's Participation in the Benefits Plan;
  • be able to demonstrate financial need;
  • receive additional financial support for the sabbatical from other sources, such as congregations, foundations, your synod or presbytery, or other contributors; and
  • take your sabbatical for a period of not less than four weeks.

*Other ministers serving in positions that directly support congregational ministry may also be recommended for a grant through their presbytery.


Grants of up to $3,000 are available.

The number of grants awarded each year is limited, and the Board of Pensions administers this program in cooperation with mid councils.

To determine if grants are still available, call the Assistance team of the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752 (PRESPLAN).


Two hurricanes in three weeks created an unexpected need for assistance. Watch this pastor’s story.