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

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 October 29-31, 2018 at the beautiful Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Lied Lodge is located on Arbor Day Farm and 260 acres of natural beauty. By gathering at Lied Lodge, we are supporting the good works of tree planting, conservation and stewardship around the globe.

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, Airport Shuttle and Day Care Information   Class Schedule


Event Information

The Clergy Benefits Academy begins at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, October 29 with worship and an opening plenary session. The event concludes on Wednesday, October 31 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 is closed.

To be put on our wait list please contact Margaret Sanders at 1-800-269-2244, ext. 2732.

Early-bird registration fee: ONLY $139.00 ($259.00 with spouse) by September 7, 2018. The registration fee after this date is $169.00 ($289.00 with spouse). The fee includes:


  • Dinner on Monday night
  • Breakfast and lunch on Tuesday (dinner on your own)
  • Breakfast and lunch on Wednesday
  • Refreshment breaks
  • Academy materials

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Hotel Information

Wespath has negotiated a special room rate of $119.00 plus tax per night at the host hotel. Mention the group code (1804clergy) to get the discounted rate.

Lied Lodge and Conference Center
2700 Sylvan Road
Nebraska City, Nebraska 68410
Toll Free: 800-546-5433

The room rate is available until Friday, October 5, 2018, 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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Airport Shuttle Service

For your convenience, airport shuttle service is offered to and from Omaha’s Eppley Airfield and the Lincoln Airport. There is a nominal fee for this service, and we ask that you arrange for shuttle service at least seven days in advance. Please click here for more information about this service.

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Day Care Information

If you are interested in childcare for this event please le us know. Currently, 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

Achieving Financial Wellness
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

When There's a Will There's a Way
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

Chill and Refill—Creating Life Balance and Avoiding Compassion Fatigue
You will learn about the impact of unmanaged stress and boundaries that upset work/life balance and contribute to poor self-care, compassion fatigue and burnout. You will learn how to create healthy boundaries between work and home, as well as tools and strategies to avoid and/or recover from compassion fatigue.
Instructor: Jane Pernotto Ehrman, M. Ed., Images of Wellness, LLC

Understanding and Overseeing Church Finances
Do you know the difference between a balanced budget and positive cash flow? Participants will learn about the composition and charge of the Finance Committee. This session will offer practical insights on how pastors can effectively oversee church finances. Participants will learn how to read and understand church budgets and financial reports. Participants will explore the differences between a Zero Based Budget, Line Item Budget, Program Budget and Narrative Budget. Participants will learn the best practices for statements of giving, EFT, E-Giving, stock gifts and offering envelopes. Participants should bring a copy of his or her church budget to enhance his or her experiential learning.
Instructor: The Reverend Cary James, Sharp Street Memorial Church, Baltimore, Maryland

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 Church 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: Peter Hang, Conference Liaison, Wespath Benefits and Investments

Sustainable Investing with Wespath—Stories of Impact
Instructor: Anita Green, Director, Sustainable Investment Strategies, Wespath Benefits and Investments

Healthy Transitions for Clergy Spouses
Whether you expect the next pastoral transition to be another appointment or retirement, this session is designed exclusively for you – the clergy spouse! In confidential small groups, prepare your mind and heart with healthy habits and strategies for each phase of a transition. Solve real-life clergy spouse scenarios about saying goodbye, dealing with the chaos, and planting new roots. Walk away with meaningful, supportive connections with other clergy spouses preparing for similar transitions.
Instructor: Julie Anderman, Clergy Spouse and Executive Director, Artos Retreats

Special Opportunities

One-on-One Consultations

  • Benefits Consultations
    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.
  • Pastoral Counseling/Spiritual Guidance
    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.

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Click here for the schedule.

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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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Clergy Benefits Academy
March 11-13, 2019
Princeton, New Jersey

Event Information

Attendee Testimonials

Speaker Biographies

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