Update on the 79th General Convention
The 79th General Convention is more than a year away, but we have been actively preparing for it through the development and implementation of a number of key initiatives.
Response to Resolutions from the 78th General Convention
The 78th General Convention passed a few resolutions that impact CPF. We will focus on two of them here.
Revise Benefits for Alternative Forms of Ministry Service
General Convention Resolution 2015-A177 asked us to work toward revising benefits to be responsive to the changing nature of church leadership. At the time the resolution was passed, we were in the middle of an iterative process to review and revise The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan (Clergy Pension Plan), and we were pleased to receive this validation of our work that was then underway.
This important project has been a collaborative effort involving hundreds of clergy, bishops, and lay leaders who have given us ongoing feedback on numerous proposals for changes to the existing plans. The majority of our work is complete, and we have been announcing details regarding the new provisions via press release, mail, email, in-person presentations, and website postings. You can view some of them here.
The revisions to the Clergy Pension Plan and related benefits, adopted by the CPF Board of Trustees in December, are scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2018. They maintain the overall value of benefits provided today while offering greater flexibility, consistency, and simplicity. They are designed to recognize emerging types of ministry and to address the needs of interim ministers, bi-vocational priests, part-time clergy, and clergy who experience longer breaks in service. Conforming changes were made to the other pension plans we administer. You can view details here.
Please note that if you are currently retired these revisions will not change your monthly pension check and may increase certain other benefits that you receive.
Study Costs of Pension Benefits in Foreign Dioceses
General Convention Resolution 2015-A181 asked us to study compensation and the cost of benefits for clergy and lay employees in the dioceses of Province IX, the Diocese of Haiti, the Episcopal Church in Cuba, and Covenant Partners. Over the past several years, we have been studying the adequacy of benefits outside the United States and have visited many dioceses around the world to better understand their expectations and needs. We are currently working with an outside consulting firm, Willis Towers Watson, and with the bishops and lay leaders in the named dioceses to update our research. This study, which has been expanded to include the dioceses of Micronesia, Taiwan, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will compare clergy and lay employee compensation and benefits data against their respective national averages to give us a sense of the adequacy of our offering. We look forward to sharing our findings in the coming year.
In future issues of Perspective we will share more of our preparation and plans for the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.