Board increases Assistance Program Christmas gifts

November 04, 2020

​Each year at this time, monetary gifts go to those receiving Housing and Income supplements. This year, the Board has announced a 40 percent increase in the gift amounts. 

In the spirit of a treasured Presbyterian tradition, every year at Christmastime, the Board of Pensions sends a monetary gift to those who receive Housing and/or Income supplements through the Assistance Program. This year, the Board has happily announced a 40 percent increase in the amounts of those gifts.

"We are grateful to be able to increase the size of the Christmas gifts, especially this year, which has presented so many challenges," said the Reverend Dr. John G. McFayden, Executive Vice President and Chief of Church Engagement. "These gifts are always deeply appreciated."

Anyone receiving a Housing or Income Supplement, or both, as of November 1, 2020, will receive the gift. Single individuals will receive $350, and members with spouses will receive $700. Since 2004, the gift amounts had been $250 and $500. Gifts will be distributed with the December pension benefit.

The annual Christmas Joy Offering, half of which goes to the Board, supports Housing and Income supplements. Housing Supplements help make it possible for retired members and surviving spouses to remain in their homes or move to retirement communities. Income Supplements boost the financial resources of those who served the Church for many years at modest wages. The Christmas gift serves to remind these retirees that the Church remains grateful for their gift of dedicated service.

Gifting assistance to retired church servants at Christmas dates to 1933, when the Board of Annuities and Relief of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) began an offering to supplement retirees' income and help with healthcare expenses. After the 1983 reunion of the PCUS and the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA) as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Board of Pensions continued the tradition through the Assistance Program.

"Presbyterians have always been concerned with caring for servants of the Church and their families," Rev. McFayden said. "The Christmas gift is one small reminder that we never cease valuing that service."