I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well and safe, and that you were able to enjoy the Independence Day holiday weekend.
It is hard to believe that we are now at the end of our seventeenth week since our offices closed on March 16. A few staff colleagues performing essential tasks are on site daily; however, the majority of our colleagues continue to telework efficiently, and remain focused on serving you.
“I got shoes, you got shoes, all God’s children got shoes.”
African American Spiritual
Basic necessities such as shoes and decent clothing were rare among slaves, but expressions of protest and hope were not. The meaning of the spiritual I Got Shoes was hidden from the oppressors but clear to those who sang it as they worked the fields: outrage at the cruel treatment of those who had no right to declare ownership of human beings, and confidence that justice would ultimately prevail. The day would come when they would attain freedom and dignity; all of God’s children would get shoes.
I pray that you continue to be well and safe.
When the office closure began on March 16, none of us anticipated that we would still be working from home at this time. Now, the summer is in full swing, and we are coming up on the Fourth of July at the end of this week. Please note that the Pension Boards will be closed on Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day, reopening on Monday, July 6.
Two weeks ago, we published A Pastoral Reflection on Racism, the Pension Boards’ statement in response to the killing of George Floyd and the many other African Americans who have died as a result of racist violence. Our statement was both a theological reflection and a commitment to action.
I hope that each of you and your loved ones continue to remain well.
Last year marked the first time the Pension Boards offered a Summer Internship Program. The 2019 experience was a resounding success, as shown in the reflections from the inaugural cohort. Two of the initial interns began their careers with the PBUCC staff team following graduation. When the pandemic made it necessary for us to work from home, the executive leadership team carefully considered whether the program could be offered this summer. Although circumstances were not what we had envisioned, and despite the unanticipated challenges, leadership remained committed to moving forward and our 2020 summer interns will begin their work with us starting June 22. Our goal as an organization is to provide a high-achieving group of college students and recent graduates the opportunity to work together with senior leaders and mentors toward specific, agreed-upon tasks while at the same time learning how their skills and capabilities contribute to advancing the Pension Boards’ mission and ministry of serving you from the intersection of Faith and Finance.
Last year marked the first time the Pension Boards offered a Summer Internship Program. Our experiences – and those of the five interns – in 2019 were a resounding success. Two of the interns in the initial cohort began their careers with the PBUCC staff team following graduation. Learnings from the first year of the program helped us to further develop and strengthen the plans for the 2020 program.
These were the final words of George Floyd, who was murdered at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis. The same words were uttered by other persons of color who died of asphyxiation at the hands of police. The words have been adopted by the Black Lives Matter movement and are chanted by protestors in the U.S. and beyond in their demand for racial justice. The Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ joins in that demand; we condemn racism in all of its forms and commit ourselves to action.
This week, our message to you focuses on one issue very much in the hearts and minds of our church at this time. We wish to share with you the following Pastoral Reflection on Racism, prepared by, and with the full support of, the Pension Boards’ leadership team. The trustees and staff of the Pension Boards renew our commitment to racial justice, and to creating a just world for all.
Each week since the closure of the Pension Boards’ offices in mid-March, we have provided updates to let you – our members and employers – know how our work on your behalf continues, and to provide information about benefits, services, and other resources available in this time.
The IRS released Notices 2020-29 and 2020-33 which provide tax relief through increased flexibility for taxpayers with Flexible Spending Accounts, including Health and Dependent Care.