Understanding Pension Liabilities—For Local Churches Considering Disaffiliation
Watch this video for easy-to-understand answers to complex questions related to pension plan funding and the withdrawal liability payment required for local churches that disaffiliate from the UMC.
This 18-minute video addresses these and other questions:
- Are the United Methodist clergy pension plans “fully funded”?
- What does fully funded mean when it comes to “pension liabilities”?
- What are the differences between market interest rates and funding interest rates?
- How can the plans be fully funded on a funding basis but not fully funded on a market basis?
- Why is a disaffiliating church required to make the withdrawal liability payment to the annual conference it is leaving?
- Is the withdrawal liability payment an arbitrary or punitive obstacle to disaffiliation?
A podcast version of the same information is also available.
Wespath continues to focus on continuity of benefits for those who serve and the impact of disaffiliations on pensions, benefits and liabilities funding. Information on this page is updated periodically.
Please direct any questions to [email protected].
- CEO Blog: Caring for Those Who Serve—Our Commitment to You (Posted August 18, 2022)
- CEO Blog: Committed to You in a Changing Methodist Ecosystem (Posted April 29, 2022)
- Wespath's Role in Determining Withdrawal Liabilities (Posted August 18, 2022)
- Detailed Q&As for Conferences, Clergy, Institutional Clients: Disaffiliation Topics
- GC postponement to 2024: FAQs Regarding Church and Conference Disaffiliations
- Clergy Withdrawals: Impact on Benefits of Terminating Annual Conference Relationship Under ¶360
- Protocol and Other Restructure Scenarios: FAQs for Potential UMC Restructure
In May 2022, the Council of Bishops requested a declaratory decision (Docket 0522-02) from the Judicial Council regarding the use of ¶2548.2 of The Book of Discipline as an independent path for local church disaffiliation. On June 22, 2022, Wespath submitted an amicus brief to assist the Judicial Council in addressing certain questions in the Council of Bishops’ request related to pension obligations. Read Wespath’s amicus brief.
In early March 2022, the Council of Bishops requested a declaratory decision (Docket 1021-23) from the Judicial Council regarding whether an annual conference may separate from the UMC under The Book of Discipline. On April 12, 2022, Wespath submitted an amicus brief to assist the Judicial Council in addressing certain questions in the Council of Bishops’ request related to the maintenance of retirement benefits in the event of the separation of an annual conference. Read Wespath’s amicus brief.