Church Pension Group | CPF Board Zeroes In

CPG Connect

Questions Answered: The CPF Board Zeroes In

Spring 2022

We’re always happy to answer the questions that interest the people we serve and support. Here, three trustees of The Church Pension Fund Board (CPF Board) share their thoughts on the importance of collaboration and conversation, lay pension parity, and the commitments that make the CPF Board unique:

The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior
Vice Chair, The Church Pension Fund Board of Trustees
Assisting Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama

What are some of the top priorities of the CPF Board?

One of the primary responsibilities of the CPF Board is overseeing CPG’s strategic plan. It’s brought to life in their annual reports, as well as in some of their recent events, videos, and newsletters, their other resources and reports on Church trends, and the details they share about CPG’s financial strength and socially responsible investing program.

The CPF Board is deeply committed to maintaining open lines of communication and consultation with various bodies of the Church. I have helped the team at CPG host conversations and finalize communications for countless Episcopalians who have had questions about the work of CPG and its role in their ministries.

Having served as Chaplain and Vice President of General Convention’s House of Deputies, and as a member of Executive Council, I’ve experienced what our Church can accomplish when its distinct parts work together for the common good. Over the past triennium, I was privileged to join other members of the CPF Board and CPG leaders in collaborating with representatives from Executive Council to provide a report on the relationship between The Episcopal Church and The Church Pension Fund, responding to General Convention Resolution 2018-A060. I am pleased that there is good energy to continue the work to maintain strong relationships between CPG and the Executive Council.

I have witnessed productive and collaborative conversations between CPG and Church leadership on the rising cost of healthcare, collecting clergy demographic information, and providing financial relief during COVID. The work of the CPF Board impacts the lives of many, and it’s imperative that we be in constant conversation with the people we serve. This remains a top priority of our board.

Anne Vickers, CFA
Canon for Finance and Administration, Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida

Can you share your thoughts, as one of the lay professionals on the CPF Board, about the work CPG is doing to address pension parity?

As a diocesan staff member, I spent years defining, explaining, and benchmarking the structures of compensation packages for clergy and lay employees of the Church. The structures and rules are complicated. Effecting change is challenged by the fact that there are more than 6,000 employers (including vestries and school boards) who have the responsibility for these staffing decisions within their individual context of financial sustainability.   

CPG continues to collect data and insights to help the Church understand these compensation differences and the levers that are available to move toward greater parity in retirement benefits. As the CPF Board has been actively engaged in helping to better understand the dynamics and opportunities, I continue to dive enthusiastically into the details to offer additional observations and questions from my diocesan perspective. We have the leadership and analytical tools to foster a coordinated engagement by the Church as a whole to address this important issue, and I look forward to continuing this work.

Read more about CPG’s efforts to help the Church address lay parity.

“These are real concerns, and we share them. We are aware that things are not equal, and what’s also true is that CPF can’t [make everything equal]. We are eager to join with the Church in addressing this, but when it comes to compensation, that is negotiated at the local level.”

—The Rt. Rev. Thomas Brown
Chair, The Church Pension Fund Board of Trustees
Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Hear more of what Bishop Brown had to say about lay parity (time code 59:15).

Kevin Lindahl, Esq.
Executive Director, Fire & Police Pension Association of Colorado

Your industry expertise in pensions gives you a broad and deep perspective on how the CPF Board and employees administer CPF’s pension programs. What, if anything, makes CPF’s work unique?

My board colleagues are bishops, deans of cathedrals, parish rectors, lay professionals, and other active Episcopalians who love and serve the Church as much as I do. What makes us unique is the level of compassion and thoughtfulness we bring to our decision-making process, regardless of the topic.

Every action the CPF Board takes is grounded in research, client data, financial analysis, best practices, and our legal roles and responsibilities. And we make no decision without discussing and analyzing its impacts on the Church and those we serve. Perhaps most important, as we anticipate and respond to evolving needs and emerging concerns, the CPF Board also provides input on CPG’s communication strategies to ensure that our actions are clearly and fully explained.

While some of our decisions may not be popular, the actions we take are always the result of lengthy discussion and deep concern for the people and institutions that depend on CPG to be here for decades to come.

A Message from the Chair

Be sure to view A Message from the Chair, a quarterly e-newsletter that reflects the actions taken by the CPF Board that affect the products and services administered by CPF, as well as other highlights of the board meeting.


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