You're invited to be inspired!
Clergy of all ages are welcome!
There is something for everyone!
Earn Education Units!

All active clergy members of The United Methodist Church: Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) invites you to attend the Clergy Benefits Academy!

The Clergy Benefits Academy is for all ages and stages of ministry—new ordinands, early-career clergy, mid-career clergy, ready-to-retire clergy, district superintendents, clergy in extension ministries—and spouses. There is something for everyone!

Plan now to attend! The Clergy Benefits Academy will be held August 7-9, 2017 in Tempe, Arizona. This event is a unique opportunity to learn about the many benefit issues that affect your life and ministry. You can even earn continuing education units (CEUs) for attending.


Event Information   Course Descriptions
Details and Registration   Special Opportunities
Hotel and Day Care Information   Class Schedule


Event Information

The Clergy Benefits Academy begins at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 7 with worship and an opening plenary session. The event concludes on Wednesday, August 9 at 2:30 p.m.

Classes are scheduled on a track, so you can attend each session. Your assigned track will be provided when you arrive at the event's registration table.

You can earn 1.5 CEUs if you complete 10 classes and 1 CEU if you complete seven classes.

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Details and Registration

Registration for the CBA is closed.

Early-bird registration fee: ONLY $129.00 ($239.00 with spouse) by July 14, 2017. The registration fee after this date is $159.00 ($269.00 with spouse). The fee includes:

  • Breakfast and lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Refreshment breaks
  • Academy materials

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Hotel Information

Wespath has negotiated a special room rate of $109.00 plus tax per night at the host hotel. Mention the group code (CBA) to get the discounted rate.

Tempe Mission Palms
60 East 5th Street
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Phone: 1-408-894-1400

The room rate is available until July 14, 2017, based on availability.

Note: Making the hotel reservation and paying for hotel accommodations are the responsibilities of the attendee. Please tell the hotel you are attending the Clergy Benefits Academy to obtain the negotiated rate.

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Day Care Information

Wespath will provide a 50% discount on an additional hotel room for a child care provider (grandparent, friend, etc.). Call Anne Green (1-800-269-2244, ext. 4560) for more details.

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Course Descriptions

Clergy Benefits Academy Courses

Special Opportunities


Making a Difference: Personal Savings and Wespath Services
Making personal contributions into the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP) is key to enhanced retirement security. Learn ways to maximize your saving potential, as well as how to tailor your investments with the LifeStage Investment Management Service to reflect your needs and personal circumstances. You’ll also learn how to log in to Benefits Access—the online portal to your accounts at Wespath. UMPIP, LifeStage and Benefits Access are available to both clergy and lay employees.
Instructor: Robert Christophel, Benefits Educator, Wespath Benefits and Investments

Healthy You…Healthy Church
Get excited about creating a healthier you—and a healthier church. Nutrition and physical activity—from both an individual and a congregational perspective—will be the focal point of this class. Ever thought about creating an outreach ministry around food or organizing your refrigerator for healthier eating? Come prepared to think about food and physical activity in a new way and walk away with tools you can use!
Instructor: Judy Johnston, MS, RD, LD, Research Instructor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine

Help! Clergy Tax Laws!
The laws relating to taxation of clergy compensation can be confusing. This class will help you understand your tax liability, the clergy housing allowance, accountable reimbursement plans and other issues unique to clergy. This is a practical class that will focus on the basic issues.
Instructor: The Reverend Nate Berneking, Director of Finance and Administrative Ministry, Missouri Conference

Planning for the Future: Financial Goals and Tools
Do you have financial goals? Is excessive debt eating away at you? Are you monitoring your spending? This class will discuss tools you can use to plan for a more secure retirement. You’ll learn about setting goals, the role of debt, the importance of net worth and other basic financial considerations that will help you plan for retirement security. This class is designed to give you basic tips and tools to improve your financial picture.
Instructor: Bob Fairbrook, Financial Advisor and Educator, EY Financial Planning

Planning for the Future: Your Family and Your Estate
Do you have a durable power of attorney or an advanced directive? Do you know where your important documents are located? Have you considered estate planning and your long-term financial legacy? Are you familiar with trusts and estate tax laws? This class is essential as you consider ways to care for your family’s future.
Instructor: The Reverend David Bell, President and Executive Director, United Methodist Foundation of Michigan and a Senior Design Partner, Design Group International

Social Security for Clergy
Social Security provides both retirement and disability benefits. Learn how Social Security can benefit you, how you might qualify for benefits and what you may expect from Social Security during different life events.
Instructors: TBD

Unexpected Events: Benefits You Need the Most
What happens when life throws you a curve and you face a difficult situation involving disability or incapacity? Learn how the Comprehensive Protection Plan (CPP) helps you through unplanned transitions. In this class, you will learn “what to do” and “what to expect” at those times when you and your family need benefits the most.
Instructor: Dale Jones, Managing Director of Education and Plan Sponsor Relations, Wespath Benefits and Investments

United Methodist Pension Benefits Review
The United Methodist Church offers many benefits to its clergy. This class provides an overview of the benefits you and your family may expect from the Church when you retire. The class will focus on the Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP) and the Ministerial Pension Plan.
Instructor: Ron Coleman, Conference Liaison, Wespath Benefits and Investments

Money, Happiness & Holiness: What Every Pastor and Spouse Needs to Know
Market sage Benjamin Graham claimed “The investor’s chief problem, and even their worst enemy, is likely to be themselves!” The new psychology of finance (behavioral economics) identifies why this may be the case, as it explains the money stressors and cognitive “biases” we all face when we face the fear of uncertainty, such as investing our retirement savings. And it then suggests to us the tools we need to “nudge” better decision-making. Behavioral economics further counts emotional and social “capital” (personal happiness and the common good) as equally worthy financial goals. As persons committed to scriptural affirmations of an abundant and joyful life for all, this class will compare this new psychology with classic Wesleyan “scriptural holiness,” as we frame our choices today to construct a life of financial, social & spiritual health.
Instructor: The Reverend Ron Johnson, PhD, Pastoral Psychotherapist, Bartlett United Methodist Church Counseling Center, Memphis Annual Conference

Special Opportunities

One-on-One Consultation
During on-site registration, schedule a consultation with a Wespath staff member. This private session is your opportunity to discuss your own account balance and pension projection. A knowledgeable Wespath representative will help you understand your specific benefit situation.

We Can Do It: Living a Healthy and Balanced Life Evening Consultation Group and Personal One-on-One Consultations
If you are looking for an opportunity to explore your individual wellness issues in a safe, confidential manner, this session—facilitated by a professional counselor—is appropriate for you. Gain perspective from someone outside your conference who can listen, problem-solve and bless you with a fresh outlook on how to resolve your specific issue as well as offer new ideas for living a healthy and balanced life.

Benefits Access – Participant Portal Demo Session
At these session we will demonstrate the features of Benefits Access. This session will be greatly enhanced if you are able to bring a laptop/tablet and your Benefits Access username and password. If you need to create a username and password follow this link to request a four-digit PIN that will be mailed to your home address.
Instructor: Peter Hang, Benefits Educator, Wespath Benefits and Investments

Some of the Benefits Access features we will cover include:

  • Plan Account - We will review retirement plan account balances, transactions, investment returns, allocations and more.
  • Retirement Projections - Learn how to use the Retirement Benefits Projection tool to produce estimates of your accounts projected to a future Benefit Commencement Date. Peter will also demonstrate the Retirement Readiness Tool that shows your expected retirement income needs compared to your projected retirement income.
  • Financial Education - Articles on subjects related to account management and retirement planning under "Learn More."
  • Electronic Delivery Options - Access account statements and Hark newsletter issues online. Electronic delivery is fast, easy and safe. It protects sensitive information from identity theft and preserves the environment.

Enhancing Retirement Planning—Beyond the Basics
This class will focus on enhancing retirement planning by exploring the nuances of retirement investing, retirement taxation (including the retirement housing allowance resolution in conference journals and its application) as well as sources of income which may include Roth accounts. The required minimum distributions which start in one's 70's will be explained and how the IRA world differs from the church's 403b world. Bring your questions not covered in other sessions about our denomination's retirement plans and their parallels (previous work or spouse's pensions) to this interactive session.
Instructor: Mark Conner

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The schedule is now available.

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Do you have questions about registration, travel, hotel accommodations or the day care opportunity?
Call: Anne Green at 1-800-269-2244, ext. 4560.

Do you have questions about the class schedule?
Call: Renee Smith-Edmondson at 1-800-269-2244, ext. 4273.

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