… they sow fields, and plant vineyards, and get a fruitful yield.
— Psalm 107:37
I suspect all of you have been touched by our work in some way. There are 190 of us at the Board of Pensions. We serve 65,000 people through the Benefits Plan and provide benefits and support to agencies, congregational employers, and affiliated organizations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Each year, we pay out over $140 million in medical claims and $55 million in prescription drug claims. That covers doctor and pharmacy visits made by active and retired plan members and their families. Are you a part of that total? Last year, we answered 51,000 phone calls to 800-PRESPLAN. Did we talk to you? Maybe you receive a monthly pension payment, or you’ve gotten financial assistance from us. We made 254,000 pension payments in 2019, totaling $400 million, and provided $7.6 million in assistance.
Pension and death and disability payments as well as financial assistance are supported by our investments, valued today at more than $10 billion. Managing them demands that we monitor U.S. and foreign markets, worldwide political shifts, and the investment managers we engage to invest the assets. (The Balanced Investment Portfolio had an impressive annual investment return of 17.8 percent in 2019. Read the newly released Investment Review.)
The Board has 11 Church Consultants located geographically throughout the country. If you’re a congregational employer, a mid council leader, or a minister anywhere in the country, there’s a good chance you’ve talked with one of them. They do a lot of traveling to provide guidance on benefits.
Even though benefits guidance is a kind of education, you probably don’t think of us as educators. But we are. Board University is full of opportunities to learn about wholeness at the different stages of life, career, and ministry. More than 1,000 people signed up for online access to the learning modules we created last year. Close to the same number attended Board U seminars, webinars, and the annual Well-Being Retreat — and found support for spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being. Another 358 ministers experienced discernment and renewal at CREDO conferences.
So, has our work touched you? I bet it has.
Grace and peace,
The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer