Central Conference Pension Initiative Visits Define $25 Million Challenge Goal

For Immediate Release
February 4, 2010

Contact: M. Colette Nies, Managing Director—Communications
(847) 866-4296 or

Nashville, Tenn.—For the Rev. Charles Horace, a retired Liberian pastor, life without a pension was a daily struggle. He recalls weeks in which he would “just live on water” for two or three days.

But through the Liberia pension fund, Horace now receives a quarterly pension benefit made possible by gifts to the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI). “If I were not a United Methodist pastor, who would have thought about me?” said Horace to an audience of the Grand Bassa District of The United Methodist Church. “Let nothing take you from this caring and loving church.”

To provide for the needs of Horace and other retired clergy outside the U.S., the CCPI initially sought to raise a minimum $20 million endowment—$19.2 million has already been pledged or donated. CCPI leadership recently established a challenge goal of $25 million, reflecting the needs discovered through on-site visits to each of the growing 19 Episcopal areas served by this initiative.

“We received almost $6 million in contributions in 2009,” said Dan O’Neill, managing director for Central Conference Pensions at the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. “If we could raise the same amount this year, we will have the funds that will enable us to support current pension initiative activity.”

Emergency grants were authorized in 2004 for retired clergy and surviving spouses in all central conferences. When a country’s pension plan launches, emergency grant payments cease.

Liberia’s CCPI-funded pension program has been in place since 2007, Mozambique’s began in 2009 and a third pilot project was launched this year in Angola.

United Methodist members and friends who would like to support the CCPI may make a donation or pledge through their church or online at www.ccpi-umc.org. For further information, contact Colette Nies at cnies@gbophb.org.


About the Central Conference Pension Initiative

The Central Conference Pension Initiative is designed to become a long-term solution and a foundation for retirement security for dedicated church leaders who would otherwise have little or nothing to support them when their careers in ministry end.

There are 72 annual and provisional annual conferences in 42 countries outside the United States. The complexities of local laws, cultures, history and traditions in these diverse areas present a variety of challenges in establishing pension programs. Pilot projects are under way in Liberia and Mozambique. CCPI, under the auspices of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, continues to explore ways to expand pension assistance to additional conferences.

About the General Board

The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits is a not-for-profit administrative agency of The United Methodist Church, responsible for the general supervision and administration of the retirement, health and welfare benefit plans, programs and funds for more than 74,000 clergy and lay employees of the Church.

The General Board is the largest faith-based pension fund in the United States and ranks among the top 100 pension funds in the country. As a socially responsible investor, the General Board is actively involved in shareholder advocacy, proxy voting, portfolio screening and community investing.

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