The UMC Central Conferences are those conferences outside the United States. Central Conference Pensions provides long-term retirement security for faithful UMC servants in the central conferences that need it. Thirteen pension plans are now in place across Africa, the Philippines and Europe, covering more than 2,800 retirees and surviving spouses.
A Special Message from
Bishop John K. Yambasu
Sierra Leone Annual Conference
“In my many years as clergy and a missionary in Africa, I have lived to see retired pastors die in abject poverty and without dignity. I have seen many young people shy away from full-time itinerant ministry because it was like intentionally signing-on for a life of permanent poverty. Through the Central Conference Pensions, you and your colleagues restored dignity to ordained ministry. Today in Africa, we celebrate the lives of the many young people who now see ordained ministry as a vocation worth pursuing. And we continue to see retired pastors live healthier and longer—and with dignity.”
About Central Conference Pensions
A General Conference 2000 mandate focused the denomination's attention on the issue of clergy pensions by creating an inter-agency task force charged with “launching a pension support plan for the central conferences.” The Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI)—a Church-wide fundraising campaign—was begun under the auspices of Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath). Donations from individuals, local churches and conferences were collected in support of this effort. CCPI achieved its challenge goal of $25 million in October 2013—making it possible to transition from fundraising to full-time pension administration and support. As a result, the term “Initiative” was retired and the program was re-named—Central Conference Pensions (CCP).
Payments are administered by Wespath and funded by the investment earnings on the $25 million raised. To date, over $5 million has been distributed to plan participants, providing needed retirement resources to the central conferences, giving them time to build their own contribution base for future retirees.
CCP-developed pension programs require contributions from active clergy and local churches. These programs use a deferred compensation model (similar to U.S. pension plans)—setting aside and investing money from today’s earnings for the participant’s future retirement needs.
An ongoing Wespath goal is to help the CCP plans become self-funded, self-governed and self-sustaining pension programs. CCP plans are the sole source of retirement support in many central conferences; in others they supplement existing government-funded retirement systems to provide adequate retirement, assuring that all eligible clergy in the Central Conferences have reliable pension support.