Commission on a Way Forward Report—Wespath Appendix

The Commission on a Way Forward (Commission) released its report to the Special General Conference 2019 in July. The report includes an appendix—requested by the Commission and authored by Wespath—which analyzes the potential impacts of the three proposed plans on clergy pensions in the United States, as well as related effects on local churches and annual conferences.

The Appendix summarizes Wespath’s analysis of potential impacts of different Church scenarios, including insights on:

While Wespath does not recommend any particular scenario, we are prepared to make whatever changes are required to continue serving the Church in whatever form it takes, while caring for those who rely on the benefit plans for their retirement security.

Wespath believes that a changing society (globally and in the United States), along with potential disruptive changes to the structure and governance of the Church—including shifting demographics and the declining membership of the U.S. Church—necessitate a change to the U.S. clergy retirement plan. We believe a transition from a traditional pension to an account-balance-type plan would be more sustainable over the long term. We are evaluating plan design changes to present to General Conference 2020 that we believe will help the Church achieve that goal.

Wespath’s detailed analysis appears in Appendix 4—Wespath Resource to the Commission’s Report, available at

Read more about the possible impact on plans, participants, plan sponsors and sustainability at

From the October 2018 issue of Hark!

Circuit Rider’s Decision 2019 issue (August-October 2018) offers diverse voices on the pivotal decisions facing UMC General Conference 2019 delegates, including a column from Wespath’s General Secretary Barbara Boigegrain. It’s a worthwhile read for UMC clergy, lay and members—available online at

October 2018 Hark Articles

Hark cover image April 2019

Hark!—April 2019


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