We hope that you and your loved ones had an opportunity for rest during the Memorial Day weekend. Many of you are working differently as a result of the pandemic – leading virtual worship services, working from home, caring for school-age children and elderly family members. We pray that you are finding time for respite and self-care in the midst of all that you are doing.
Like you, Pension Boards staff members are working above and beyond their normal responsibilities, and are often reluctant to take necessary time for self- and family-care. In an effort to support the wellbeing of our colleagues, we are encouraging staff to use some of their accumulated Paid Time Off (PTO) during this time to disconnect from work, rest, and reenergize.
We are now in the eleventh week of telework. As I mentioned in my report at the Annual Meeting of Members,
“We prepared for this time! We have worked hard over the past five years to build a solid base of preparedness that will allow us to operate for the next 50 years or more—for generations. While we could not have foreseen it, this preparation is precisely what has enabled us to respond appropriately and immediately to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Because of that preparation, we have been able to accomplish much in these 11 weeks. We are also learning much about the ways in which we may operate differently in the future. As one of our Trustees commented at our recent meetings, there are many lessons that the Pension Boards can apply post COVID-19 that will reduce expenses, increase efficiencies, and make us a more responsive and effective organization.
Here are some examples of the changes that are taking place.
I personally am very proud of the work that the Pension Boards staff team has accomplished!
The majority of our staff will continue to work remotely for some time. Although stay-at-home restrictions are being lifted this week in the counties adjacent to New York City, the city itself remains under stay-at-home orders from the Governor and Mayor. I am pleased to report that we have met our organizational objective of having a phased re-entry plan in place by June 1. However, we will remain flexible in the implementation of the plan, protecting our colleagues’ health and safety while also ensuring that your needs are met.
The Pension Boards’ COVID-19 News and Information web page continues to be updated regularly with important information for UCC employees and employers. You may also contact us at 1.800.642.6543 if you have any questions or need assistance.
Thank you for your continued faithfulness and creativity in serving the United Church of Christ.
Wishing you peace and good health,
Brian R. Bodager
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the financial situation of many UCC authorized ministers and their families. This situation has further affected a good number of UCC ministers of all ages – including those nearing retirement or already retired – who are burdened with educational debt and other consumer debt.
MFVI, launched in 2017 with a grant from the Lilly Endowment, is a clergy financial wellness initiative that helps UCC ministers address these problems in two ways: 1) through a three-year online program of financial education and cash incentives and, 2) through a matching grant partnership with the minister’s employing church, Association, or Conference.
A second Lilly grant, awarded to the Pension Boards in late 2019, enables us to expand MFVI’s reach to more ministers in 2020.
Applications and information for MFVI Program 1 (online program of financial education) will be available this Summer on the Pension Boards website in mid-July. The program will accept 60 new members in two cohorts and is open to all UCC authorized ministers.
Applications for Program 2 (matching grants) are available now and will be considered upon receipt. Authorized ministers in congregational settings may apply.
The United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance’s (UCBMA) Generations of Service: Faith and Finance in Action $20 million capital campaign is raising funds to support, among other programs, the Ministers’ Financial Vitality Initiative. Earlier this year, the National Setting of the United Church of Christ has entered into a partnership with the Pension Boards to raise $3 million across the wider church in support of clergy financial wellness. This collaborative fundraising effort, the first of its kind collaboration, reflects the ministries’ shared commitment to holistic wellbeing of those who serve the church.
Asset allocation is a key ingredient in a successful investment strategy. It refers to how your investment portfolio for a given goal is portioned out among various asset classes (investment categories).
Here are the most widely used asset classes and the risk-and-return profile of each, based on past performance:
The Pension Boards offers 10 investment fund choices for members with accumulation accounts. Members may choose to allocate their account balances in any or the available funds, or in a combination of funds. If you have questions about whether your current asset allocations are the best choice at this stage in your life and ministry, contact an Ernst & Young financial planner, available at no cost to you through our partnership with EY. Visit the EY Navigate™ website or call the EY Navigate™ Financial Planner Line at 1.877.927.1047, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ET).
PBUCC's Target Annuitization Date (TAD) Funds offer a simple way to put your asset allocation decisions on automatic pilot. Our team of caring and knowledgeable investment experts has structured the TAD Funds to maximize earnings in the earlier years and reduce risk and preserve capital as you reach your anticipated retirement date.
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.
Thank you for the support so many of you have immediately given to UCC pastors and church workers who are facing ongoing financial crises at this time. You are making a faithful difference! The requests for assistance continue to arrive in unprecedented numbers, so if you have not yet given, will you consider a gift now to help provide immediate emergency grants for active and retired pastors in need?
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.
All UCC coverage (health, pharmacy, dental, and vision benefits) remains in place, with no discontinuation or interruption in service.
If you have any questions, or experience any problems with your health coverage, please contact us at 1.800.642.6543.
The new challenges and routines that are all facing now can lead to anxiety, stress, and loneliness. A recent Teladoc Health study, almost half of respondents said their mental health has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Luckily, almost 80% of respondents said that they welcome virtual care to support their mental health needs. If you need to talk to a therapist or psychiatrist about stress or have questions about COVID-19 or another non-emergency illness, visit the Teladoc website or call 1.800.TELADOC (1.800.835.2362). The normal $10 copay for telemedicine services is waived through September 30.
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Your UCC Health Plan has additional mental health resources to assist participants and their covered dependents in coping with the impact of COVID in healthier ways.
Paying your monthly invoice electronically during this time is even more important. The Pension Boards online portal allows payments to be automatically applied to your account; it's simple, quick, and easy! Please make your Monthly Invoice Payments online on our website at: https://employers.pbucc.org/
In order to pay your invoice online, it is essential that we have a valid email address for your account.
IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO MAKE YOUR MONTHLY PAYMENT ONLINE, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU INCLUDE THE REMITTANCE SECTION FROM YOUR INVOICE WITH YOUR PAYMENT. NOT INCLUDING YOUR REMITTANCE SLIP WILL RESULT IN DELAYS ON POSTING PAYMENTS TO YOUR EMPLOYEES’ ACCOUNTS.
Here is how to pay your monthly invoice online.
Using your Internet browser, go to https://employers.pbucc.org/. If you have not yet registered, select Sign-in, then select the New User link to register. Follow the steps to set up your account and create a password. Once you have registered, follow the steps below to pay your invoice:
If you do not agree with the total amount displayed, please log out of the portal and contact Member Services directly 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.