Board University offerings repositioned as 2020 in-person gatherings canceled

June 10, 2020

Conferences and seminars are being redesigned for online delivery where possible as the Board revises its education programs for 2020 to uphold its commitment to providing opportunities to support well-being.

As the need for physical distancing continues, all in-person Board University offerings have been canceled through 2020. Meanwhile, conferences and seminars are being redesigned for online delivery where possible and new offerings being created.

“Before COVID-19, we were already providing more virtual spaces to serve more people,” said the Reverend Dr. José Irizarry, Vice President of Education. “That has put us in a good position to be able to reach people this way now, when it is so needed, and continue to serve fully in 2020.”

Board University provides educational programs for active and retired members of the plan; their spouses and surviving spouses; and seminarians in four key areas of wholeness: spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being. The Board has made the following changes to its education programs for 2020 to uphold its commitment to providing opportunities to support well-being.

2020 Well-Being Retreat is canceled. Development of Well-Being Respite is underway, with a fall 2020 introduction anticipated. Details will be provided when available. “We recognize that in this time of crisis, the wholeness programming we provide is needed more than ever,” said the Reverend Lori Neff LaRue, Director, Wholeness Education. “While we are deeply disappointed at the cancellation of Well-Being Retreat, we will continue to provide opportunities to explore wholeness, in all its dimensions.”

CREDO gatherings are canceled. The program is expected to return in 2021; ministers who had been scheduled for a 2020 gathering will be accommodated first. Meanwhile, the Board is considering other formats that might provide CREDO-based opportunities this year for ministers to explore wholeness and develop a deeper sense of call in this time of physical distancing.

THRIVE is being redesigned for 2020 as an e-learning series. This program — for plan members who are a decade or less away from retirement and their spouses — is an opportunity to be educated and engaged in financial planning as part of an exploration of identity, health, and vocation in retirement. “We are excited to be able to reach more people through this e-learning series,” said Jacqueline Boersema, Director of Financial Education. “THRIVE provides foundational financial concepts and tools to better equip members to perform basic retirement planning on their own.” Details will be provided when available.

First Call, First Steps will be presented as a webinar. The Board expects to return to seminary classrooms in 2021 with this seminar, which provides inquirers and candidates for ordination with information and tools essential to navigating the call process effectively. Details will be provided when available.

Leaving Well is a new e-learning module for ministers on the process of transitioning from one call to another. It will be available through the Board University learning platform, accessible through Benefits Connect. The Board expects to introduce Leaving Well this year and will provide details when available.

“Our exploration of virtual spaces is ongoing,” Dr. Irizarry said. “We expect to learn lessons in 2020 that will help us to continue to expand the number of members we serve through Board University.”