In Service to the Church - 100 Years and Counting
Last year was a good year for the Church Pension Group (CPG). With the benefit of your input and through the hard work of our team at CPG, we announced comprehensive revisions to The Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan (the Clergy Pension Plan) and related plans in January. These revisions recognize emerging types of ministry and address the needs of interim ministers, bi-vocational priests, part-time clergy, and clergy who experience longer breaks in service. They offer the flexibility, consistency, and simplicity needed to meet the needs of a changing Church.
At the same time, our investment portfolio grew by more than 8% in 2017, and our investment team continued to advance our socially responsible investing (SRI) efforts. We made new investments that offer competitive returns and positive social impact, we expanded our capacity to do meaningful shareholder engagement, and we participated in conferences and discussions with other thought leaders in the world of SRI.
We observed our centennial by creating even more opportunities to visit with our clients to hear their concerns as they look ahead, and to share the ways in which we are here to help them today and tomorrow.
As a provider of pensions and employee benefits exclusively to the Episcopal Church, we must be extremely focused on the long-term needs of those we serve, but we also serve short-term, urgent needs. The Denominational Health Plan (DHP) continues to help the Church control the rising cost of healthcare while providing access to comprehensive benefits. Fidelity Investments and our Education & Wellness team stand ready to help individuals think about their financial needs and how they can be addressed through the products and services we make available. In 2017, we helped close to 1,400 individuals evaluate their personal finance readiness, to achieve both short- and long-term financial goals. Our property and casualty group has been extremely busy helping dioceses recover from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and we have partnered with Episcopal Relief & Development to offer courses on post-trauma resiliency. These and other projects have allowed us to continue to develop our relationships around the Church.
As the 79th General Convention approaches, we look forward to hearing from deputies and bishops who may have questions about our work. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where we will be posting articles, presentations, and invitations to participate in various events.
Since 1917, The Church Pension Fund (CPF) and its affiliates have existed to support the clergy and lay employees of the Episcopal Church in their calling to spread the gospel. We are as passionate about that purpose today as we were when we mailed our first pension check 100 years ago. At a recent Celebration of the Eucharist held in honor of our centennial, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry expressed his gratitude to CPF and its employees, saying, “Thank you for all that you have done and thank you for all you will do to help this beloved Church of ours continue as a movement to change the world.” It was a blessing to hear his appreciation, and it is a blessing to continue to serve those who serve the Church in all of the ways that we do. You can view and share Presiding Bishop Curry’s full sermon at www.cpg.org/currysermon.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Perspective. In it we highlight many conversations around the Church, describe our efforts to gauge the retirement readiness of lay employees, discuss our preparations for General Convention, report on the progress of the DHP, and answer one of the questions we are most frequently asked. We remain grateful for your continued confidence and support and wish you the very best for a healthy and successful 2018.
Mary Kate Wold
CEO and President