On September 22, 2021, the Pension Boards recognized the Rev. Dr. Martha M. Cruz, who retires after more than 21 years of service as Communications and Church Relations Officer.
Pension Boards’ Board of Trustees, friends, and colleagues took a moment to say farewell to Martha during a retirement celebration held in her honor at the Pension Boards’ New York City office.
The Rev. Dr. James Moos, Executive Director of Faith and Finance Ministries, opened the celebration with a warm welcome and prayer. He was followed by President and CEO Brian R. Bodager, who read a statement of deepest appreciation and dedicated service to the Pension Boards, while honoring Martha with a special commendation award. Rev. Dr. Rodney Franklin, Board Chair, also offered special remarks on behalf of the Board of Trustees.
“On behalf of all Pension Boards staff, friends, Board of Trustees, clergy and lay employees from which we serve on behalf of the United Church of Christ, today, we say to you Martha, well done, good and faithful servant. We are truly grateful for your more than 21 years of devoted and unselfish service to the Pension Boards, through all of its waves of change, challenge, and growth. Thank you for your leadership, wisdom, and faithfulness to the mission of our organization. We honor and celebrate you today,” said Brian in his address.
The Rev. Dr. James Moos, added, “Through the years, Martha has been known by many both within the Pension Boards and in the broader church as a first-class writer and editor, and as a valued friend and trusted colleague. Among her many accomplishments as Director of Communications was leading the shift from print to electronic communications. Since joining the Pension Boards two years ago, I have relied heavily upon her abilities, wisdom, and historical perspective in order to advance our mission, especially in the midst of the pandemic. It has truly been my pleasure and privilege to work with Martha.”
Pension Boards’ staff and directors, who joined the hybrid event by Zoom conference and in person, offered their best wishes to their beloved colleague. A video compilation of well wishes to Martha were displayed throughout several Pension Boards’ conference rooms, as staff practiced social distancing due to COVID.
“It is bittersweet to retire from the Pension Boards after 21 years,” said the Rev. Dr. Martha M. Cruz. “Throughout that time, I have had the privilege of serving alongside gifted and committed colleagues. I am especially grateful for the opportunity, in recent years, to work under the leadership of Brian Bodager and the Rev. Dr. Jim Moos, who encouraged creativity and supported new ideas to deepen relationships with those we serve. Although I know that it is the right time to enter into a new season of life and ministry, I will cherish the experiences of the past two decades and the people I have come to know. Thank you, all, for sharing this part of the journey with me,” continued Martha.
Earlier in her career, Martha served in pastoral ministry in six congregations, and on the communications staff of three ecumenical and denominational organizations. She earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Journalism from New York University, an M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School, and a D.Min from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion. Martha and her husband have six adult children and five grandchildren. The couple shares their home north of New York City with their two rescue dogs, Iggy and Usnavi.