Pension Fund of the Christian Church
Todd A. Adams, President
1099 North Meridian Street, Ste. 720
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Report to the 2019 General Assembly
On May 11, 1895, Brother A.M Atkinson, husband of Nancy E. Atkinson, a founding member of the Christian Women’s Board of Missions, received a telegram informing him of the passing of the beloved minister and former governor of Indiana, Rev. Ira J. Chase. Brother Chase left a nearly blind widow and four children with no means of support. “Brother Atkinson could not forget the need of this preacher’s family and set out immediately to raise a fund to provide the widow and family a home and a living.” Enough money was raised to purchase a home in Wabash, Indiana, which Mrs. Chase graciously received, provided $1,000 was returned to the fund from the sale of the home upon her death.
Brother Atkinson called for a Conference on Ministerial Relief, which met on October 21, 1895 in advance of the General Missionary Convention. The purpose of this conference was to raise additional resources for the Chase Fund and formalize the process by which other widows and children would receive support. The outcome of this meeting was recommended changes to the By-Laws of General Christian Missionary Convention, creating the Board of Ministerial Relief and raising an offering which totaled $3,567.25.
In 2020, the Board of Ministerial Relief will celebrate 125 years of working to provide resources “For the Support of Ministry.” From its humble beginnings with two offerings totaling $5,732.56, Pension Fund of the Christian Church, as the successor organization, has embodied our mission and carefully managed the resources of our pastors and lay employees and our legacy funds of Ministerial Relief and Assistance. At the close of 2017, the fund’s value was $3.25 billion.
In 2020, Pension Fund will celebrate the expansion of Ministerial Relief and Assistance. The program will have three core functions: Retiree Support, Active Clergy Programs, and Congregational Partnership Grants.
Retiree Support will continue for those who have no Pension, a Pension below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, Healthcare Assistance with Medicare Supplemental plans, and 13th check. Our expanded support for retirees includes adding a Geographic Pay Differential for Supplemental Pensions for persons who retired in a high-cost area. To qualify, a person must meet the current supplemental guidelines and have retired in an area where the cost of living exceeds Indianapolis as a base market. Those persons then qualify for an increase based on the difference but capped at 250% of the Federal Poverty level for a single person.
Active Clergy Programs: Ministerial Relief and Assistance expansion includes Financial Literacy Education (the permanent role of Excellence in Ministry), Career Counseling Grants for Pastors Transitioning to bi-vocational ministry, and a biennial Pastor’s Wellness Conference starting in the fall of 2020.
The career counseling grants are to combat the research which shows clergy who have a second source of income are most likely to serve in a high-crisis profession such as a funeral director or social worker. Continually dealing with crisis, leads to burnout. We want to help clergy work with a professional who can steer them toward a profession which compliments their ministry but also brings joy.
The biennial Pastor’s Wellness Conference will rotate themes of emotional, physical, and financial wellness. The heavily subsidized conference will see to bring together clergy serving various size congregations. The first keynote speaker is Dr. Matt Bloom, a researcher at the University of Notre Dame, who specializes in clergy wellness. More information will be available at Pension Fund’s booth in the exhibit hall. These are in addition to our historic clergy support programs for emergency aid and funeral assistance grants for clergy without pension plan death benefits.
We also desire to work in Partnership with Congregations. We will continue our historic programs, including Student Gift—expanded to include undergraduate internships and Global Mission Interns through Division of Overseas Ministries—and our Chaplaincy Dues program, which purchases pension credits for pastors called to active duty military service.
Our new Congregational Partnership programs include partnering with Week of Compassion to provide salary continuation grants to pastors if their home and/or the church is damaged during a natural disaster. We recognize if there is widespread damage in a community, offerings will decrease and the ability to pay the pastor will be threatened. If the pastor doesn’t have to worry about their basic necessities, they can better lead the recovery in their community. In 2017, MRA provided over $475,000 in salary continuation grants following natural disasters.
We are also responding to GA-1333 and adding salary continuation grants to support pastors at the birth or adoption of a child. The purpose of these programs is to extend the leave time previously granted for materinity and/or paternity leave and provide additional support for any extenuating circumstances related to the birth or health of the newborn. The program will be open for maternity and paternity leave grants, natural birth or adoption—including single parent adoption.
At Pension Fund, we understand our mission is standing For the Support of Ministry, ensuring that pastors and lay employees of Stone-Campbell related employers have a Strong … Smart … Secure retirement. In the coming biennium, we are prepared (as a willing and capable partner) to challenge our members and the church to journey The Road to Financial Wellness.
Our work on your behalf is guided by our:
Mission: For the Support of Ministry
Vision: Stone-Campbell pastors and lay employees will enjoy a Strong … Smart … Secure retirement.
Core Values: Integrity, Security and Compassion
Integrity: the quality of being honest, making membership-oriented decisions
Security: the state of stability, providing freedom from worry or fear
Compassion: the ability to help others in times of need or distress
Guiding Scripture: Matthew 25:20-21 “The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.”
In service to our members, Pension Fund will …
- Partner with employers to offer financially secure retirement savings options and education for pastors and lay employees of the Stone-Campbell movement including financial support of surviving family members and provisions for those who become disabled;
- Invest and prudently manage the resources of our members — maximizing returns, minimizing costs and assuming the burden of market risk;
- Engage members with compassionate care and personalized attention;
- Steward the assets and programs of Ministerial Relief and Assistance; and
- Utilize current and compliant processes.
Contractual Programs for the United States and Puerto Rico:
As of September 30, 2018, our total assets under management were $3,270,106,921. Of these $1,962,837,400 were Pension Plan; $280,532,877 were Tax-Deferred; $22,814,466 were IRA (combined) and $299,719,104 were Benefit Accumulation Accounts (BAA). Additionally, Pension Fund has a General Fund of $133,023,443. In 2018 our base rate for Tax Deferred was 3.5%, IRA products 3.5% and BAA 2.5%. In 2018, based on 2017 returns, Pension Fund awarded a Special Apportionment of 5.5% or $96 million and a Good Experience Credits of 10.5% (TDRA), 9% BAA, and 5.5% IRAs or $48 million.
Contractual Programs for Canada:
Pension Fund provides the Pension Plan for clergy and lay employees in Canada. Canada remains a separate corporation with a separate board consisting of two US based Pension Fund employees and two Canadian based board members who also participate in the programs. This structure allows us to comply with the laws and regulations of Revenue Canada.
Pension Fund provides access to membership in the Pension Plan by clergy and lay employees in the Stone-Campbell / Restoration Movement in Puerto Rico.
Pension Fund maintains a fully-invested policy with long-term asset allocation of 50% equities, 35% fixed income and 15% alternatives. We are honored to co-sponsor a General Assembly resolution, reaffirming our commitment to socially responsible investing. We partner with Glass-Lewis for proxy vote servicing and research. Glass-Lewis follows the guidance of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).
Ministerial Relief and Assistance:
In 2017 and 2018, Ministerial Relief and Assistance provided more than $3.6 million for the support of the ministry. Supplemental Gift Pensions are gift distributions to those retirees who have extremely low pensions. Relief Pensions are gift distributions to those who have no pension.
The 13th Check is a gift to all persons receiving a Ministerial Relief pension. The offering received at General Assembly, endowment income, and annual fund contributions provide resources that bless our members. Many recipients offer thanks for the church’s generosity, as the 13th Check provides resources for heating bills, medicine and other necessities that these saints would forgo without this support.
We provided over $450,000 in salary continuation grants in 2017 following Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Additionally, we extended the grace period on pension payments from 3 to 6 months to help these communities in their recovery and restoration efforts.
Commitment to Churchwide Priorities:
Pro-Reconciliation / Anti-Racism: In addition to utilizing the principles of the Executive Search Process, Pension Fund staff engaged Reconciliation Ministries for Cultural Awareness Training with Rev. Sandhya Jha. Our Senior Leadership Team participated in the Executive Leadership School, including Pro-Reconciliation / Anti-Racism Training, Prevention of Harrassment, and Financial Ethics.
Compliance with Board Diversity: For the first time in over a decade, Pension Fund’s Board of Directors meet the 30% racial-ethnic diversity requirements of the Assembly.
Young Adult Leadership Development: We have expanded Student Gift Pensions to include undergraduate students who are pre-ministerial studies, serving in paid internships and Global Mission Interns.
New Church: Pension Fund is exploring with our legal counsel the tax liability of partnering with regions to provide matching funds to new church planters, who are intentionally seeking to start a new worshipping community.
2019 2020 2021
Peggy Brittan* Rev. Thaddaeus Allen Josh Santana*
Kelly Bauer Brenda Cline Camilla Lindsey
Randy Clayton* Charlene Butz Rev. James Johnson
Kelly Nelson Rev. Bill Lee Rev. Jabari Butler
Rev. Esteban Doble-Gonzales Rev. Janet Long Chad Turner
Greg Smith* Linda Hernandez-Williams* Rev. Sydney Avent
*2019 Board Officers
 Smith, W.M; For the Support of Ministry; pg. 49.
 Ibid; pg. 54.
 This reports was submitted on Dec. 27, 2018, therefore 2018 Finanacial Information was not available.