Church Pension Group | Our History

Our History

The Church Pension Fund (CPF)

The seed for CPF was planted by the Rt. Rev. William Lawrence of Massachusetts when, in 1910, he brought before the General Convention of The Episcopal Church a resolution to create a Joint Commission on the Support of Clergy because he was appalled by the "suffering and poverty of the aged servants of the Church." The commission started its work that same year.

In 1913, the General Convention voted to establish CPF to provide retirement and disability benefits to eligible clergy. CPF was incorporated in 1914 by a special act of the New York State Legislature.

Initial funding for CPF was raised by a committee working with Bishop Lawrence that was led by J.P. Morgan, Adolph Ochs (owner and publisher of the New York Times), and Newcomb Carlton (president of Western Union Telegraph). More than $8.5 million was collected by March 1, 1917.

CPF paid its first benefit in March 1917. Since then, CPF has paid out nearly $6 billion in benefits to eligible retiree participants in The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan and their eligible dependents as of December 31, 2016.

The Church Pension Group (CPG)

Since then our charter has expanded to include other products and services, and to cover lay employees who are critical to the Church’s ability to fulfill its mission.

Read more about key milestones in our history.

As we observe a century of service...

A century later, Bishop Lawrence’s intention lives on in our vision, which is to provide our clients with the highest possible level of financial security in retirement consistent with exemplary financial stewardship on our part and with the evolving needs of the Church. Through wars, periods of economic uncertainty, civil unrest, and constant change, we have remained passionate about our purpose, addressing the financial-security needs of our clients with professionalism and compassion.

A lot has changed since CPF issued its first pension check in 1917. While clergy pensions continue to be at the core of what we do, changing times, demographics, ministries, and acts of General Convention have broadened our focus to include benefits, products, services, and other intentional support for lay employees, as well as savings programs that can help clergy prepare for retirement. We also have focused our attention on benefits policies that better recognize the service of part-time or lower-paid clergy.

As the world, the Church, and participants’ needs continue to evolve, we will continue to explore relevant ways to deliver high-quality, mission-appropriate benefits, products, and services to those who serve the Church. We will seek to anticipate the needs of the changing Church and provide assistance within the scope of our mission. We will continue to serve as a fiduciary with responsibility for protecting and building the financial strength of CPF so it can continue to fund benefits in the century ahead.

CPG is here to support the clergy, lay employees, churches, and institutions over the long term. So we will continue to take the long view on everything we do as we look ahead to the next 100 years of service.