We pray that these messages continue to find you and your loved ones healthy and safe.
Pension Boards staff continue to work remotely in accordance with New York State directives. Our executive team has begun planning for the eventual re-entry into our offices, but at this time we cannot say with certainty when that will be. Be assured that all staff are operating at full capacity during this period of isolation. Please read the message from Rev. Rick Walters, Associate General Counsel and Director of Corporate Social Responsibility (below) for a reflection on how the Pension Boards is ministering to you during the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to daily operations, our 2020 organizational strategic objectives – designed to better meet the needs of our members – are progressing on schedule. I would like to share with you three efforts that help us better serve members and employers now and well into the future.
The Annual Meeting of Members will be held as a virtual videoconference at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern) on Thursday, May 14. There is still time to vote online for your proxy representative to the Annual Meeting and for Trustees, if you have not already done so, at: https://vote.associationvoting.com/pbucc/. The voting portal will close at 5:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Wednesday, May 13. (Please note: You will need your seven-digit Pension Boards Member ID number to vote online.) Instructions for participating in the online Annual Meeting will be sent separately via email later this week to all members of the Annuity Plan.
The Pension Boards’ COVID-19 News and Information web page is updated regularly with new information on benefits and resources available to UCC employees and employers. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 1.800.642.6543 if you have any questions or need assistance.
Thank you for your faithful ministry, and for your support of the Pension Boards.
Wishing you peace and good health,
Brian R. Bodager
View the latest installment in new our “Fireside Chat” video series, as Faith and Finance Director Rev. Jim Moos and Rev. Martha Cruz, Communications and Church Relations Officer, discuss how the Pension Boards is communicating with members during the pandemic.
Along with the leadership team and my colleagues at the Pension Boards, as well as many others in the wider church and throughout our world, I have been reflecting deeply about the questions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Certainly, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on those struck by the disease, their families, caregivers, and communities, and our sincerest prayers go out to all of them. But as a ministry of the United Church of Christ that serves some 20,000 clergy and lay church workers and the many congregations and UCC-related organizations participating in our health, annuity, and other benefit plans, we are especially challenged with the questions posed by this crisis specifically to the church and what it may become on the other side of the darkness.
Many of our congregations, already challenged by economic pressures due to decline, changing demographics, new technology, and the high costs of old buildings – including insurance and deferred maintenance – are faced with the new pressures of virtual gatherings, reduced contributions and doing pastoral care while socially distancing. As if this were not difficult enough, government red tape and long lines for service even to seek the meager relief now available are extremely taxing on small staff congregations and part-time clergy already stretched to their limits.
What can we learn from this experience as a church, as a financial ministry of the United Church of Christ, and as individuals concerned about the health and wellness of our leaders, parishioners, congregations, and institutions?
If you are experiencing a critical situation and need financial assistance, you may be eligible for an Emergency Grant from the Christmas Fund if you are:
If you meet the eligibility criteria described above, please contact your Conference staff, who will then reach out to Rev. Krista Betz, the Director of Ministerial Assistance, to begin the process. UCBMA can respond to the increasing requests for assistance because of the generosity of individuals and congregations to the Christmas Fund.
For many, government-issued stimulus checks are a welcome and essential boost at a precarious financial moment. Others, though, are blessed to have resources to survive without it. If you are able, would you consider donating your stimulus check, or a portion of it, so that money can reach those United Church of Christ pastors and lay workers who are struggling? The Christmas Fund for Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund exists to provide direct financial assistance to those who need it most. You can choose to give online, or make checks payable to UCBMA, earmarked for The Christmas Fund, then mail to: Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Christmas Fund, 75 Remittance Drive, Suite 1637, Chicago, IL 60675.
The COVID-19 outbreak has made its indelible mark in both our personal and financial lives. Ernst & Young offers several article resources in the latest edition of “Understanding Personal Finances,” to help you manage potential challenges to your financial security in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Employers have the option to pay invoices online. There are several benefits to using online bill payment:
Using your Internet browser, go to https://employers.pbucc.org/ and select the New User link to register. In order to register, you will need to have a valid email address on file with the Pension Boards. If we do not have a valid email address, you will need to contact our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543. If you do have a valid email address on file, follow the steps to set up your account and create a password. Once registered, follow the steps below to pay your invoice:
If you have any questions, please contact Member Services at the number listed above. Thank you for your participation in the benefits plans administered by the Pension Boards.
All UCC coverage (health, pharmacy, dental, and vision benefits) remains in place, with no discontinuation or interruption in service.
If you need tools and techniques to manage stress during the COVID-19 outbreak, register and tune into Health Advocate’s webinar, COVID-19: Establishing Emotional Balance in Challenging Times. Learn the successful strategies for maintaining good mental health. Register now.
If you have any questions, or experience any problems with your health coverage, please contact us at 1.800.642.6543.
Our full Member Services staff team is available as before to take your calls and answer any questions you may have. They may be reached at 1.800.642.6543 as well as on the online chat function on our website.