Strengthening International Relationships — Province IX Synod
This past February, Church Pension Group (CPG) Chief Operating Officer Frank Armstrong and members of his team attended the Province IX Synod in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to provide an update on General Convention Resolution 2015-A181 and to foster relationships with area Church leaders. Frank kicked off the Synod with an overview of CPG and our work on Resolution 2015-A181, which asked CPG to conduct a study of compensation, costs, and fees for all employee benefits, including retirement, healthcare, short-term and long-term disability, etc., for clergy and lay employees in the dioceses of Province IX, the Diocese of Haiti, the Episcopal Church in Cuba, and Covenant Partners.
Among the key findings reported were that International Clergy Pension Plan benefits are higher than most pension plans in relevant countries, that retirement income replaces 100% or more of compensation while active for the majority of full-career clergy (25 years), and that CPG’s clergy life insurance and disability benefits are consistently more robust than the benefits offered to similar workers. We also identified some gaps, however. For instance, clergy and lay employees tend to earn less than those with similar responsibilities in these countries, and local inflation and currency exchanges affect pension benefits in differing ways. In addition, although inflation and shifts in currency rates do not change healthcare benefits, many dioceses do not offer clergy or lay employees any healthcare coverage at all. The Province IX Bishops expressed their appreciation for CPG’s work and analysis, asked insightful questions, and provided important feedback that will further inform our work as we prepare our full report for General Convention. This report will be available at www.cpg.org/GC2018.
“We were excited to attend the Province IX Synod as it offered us the opportunity to provide an update on our efforts related to Resolution 2015-A181 and to foster stronger relationships with our clients,” Frank explained.
Senior Vice President Laurie Kazilionis also spoke, outlining CPG’s expanded international account management strategy, which is designed to provide CPG’s international clients with dedicated support, relationship management, and consultative services. She commented, “We developed a strategy to realize our international relationship model directive and recently introduced it to all international bishops and administrators.”
At the end of the conference, Laurie reflected, “There is no better way to get to know someone than to be with them in person and to break bread with them.” She described a particularly moving moment at dinner when the newly elected president of the Province IX Council, Bishop Victor A. Scantlebury (Diocese of Central Ecuador), rose from his seat to say that, while CPG’s team has always been there for them, there was nothing like seeing the faces of staff members and spending time with them. “Now we know your hearts,” he told them.