The Annuitant Visitor Program started as an experiment in 1982 in four Conferences – Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, and Southern California-Nevada – of the United Church of Christ. The original intent of the ministry was to identify persons who were experiencing financial need and to provide assistance. However, visitors soon discovered that they were providing assistance with questions regarding pensions, health and dental plans, death benefits, housing allowance, and other practical matters.
The ministry was so well received in those four pioneer Conferences that in 1986, the experiment started to spread across the country. Today, all 38 Conferences have Annuitant Visitors.
The Annuitant Visitor Program seeks to provide an annual visit to over 6,000 retired clergy, missionaries, and their spouses/partners in the United Church of Christ. Through these visits, Annuitant Visitors serve as ambassadors for the Pension Boards’ benefits, communicate appreciation for a lifetime of dedicated service, and offer collegial support.
Annuitant Visitors, on behalf of the whole church, embody the message to our retirees that:
- “Your Church has not forgotten you.”
- “Your ministry is valued.”
- “Your Church cares about you.”
The Annuitant Visitor Program has always been funded through the income of the Ministerial Assistance Fund. Due to financial limitations, the program was originally limited to ministers with authorization for ministry in the United Church of Christ. However, more recent legacy gifts to the Ministerial Assistance Fund have opened the visitation program to career missionaries and retired lay workers who indicate a desire for visitation.