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photo of Compass being passed at GC

Votes Are In: How General Conference Results May Affect You

Approximately 800 United Methodist Church (UMC) clergy and lay delegates deliberated more than 1,000 petitions during the rescheduled General Conference 2020 (April 23-May 3, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C.).

Some decisions made by the UMC General Conference impact benefit plans Wespath manages on behalf of clergy and lay employees serving United Methodist churches and employers. Here’s a quick summary of some approved changes to benefit plans—and how these changes may affect you.

Compass—new retirement plan for clergy

Compass is a new account-based, defined contribution retirement plan for UMC clergy—effective January 1, 2026. Compass makes benefits more sustainable for future generations called to serve and will be more affordable for local churches.

Compass is designed to provide at least 75% income replacement in retirement (with Social Security, and assuming the participant contributes at least 4% of pay to earn a matching contribution), which is enough for most people to live comfortably in retirement. Features like a match on qualified student loan payments and a higher deemed value for parsonages help lower-paid clergy be financially prepared for retirement. Compass will replace the current plan: the Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP).

Wespath will send more information about Compass in the months ahead. In the meantime, here are some fast facts.

What doesn’t change with Compass?

  • Retired clergy: Compass will not change the pension or annuity payments you currently receive.
  • Active clergy:
    • Won’t lose benefits earned through December 31, 2025.
    • Starting January 2026, you’ll begin accruing benefits under the new Compass plan instead of CRSP.

Learn more:

CRSP—closing current clergy retirement plan

The new Compass plan replaces CRSP. Compass will be “frozen” for new benefits as of December 31, 2025. Clergy won’t lose the benefits they’ve earned through 2025.

  • CRSP benefits based on denominational average compensation (DAC) will continue to grow while you remain in active ministry.
  • Active clergy will automatically transition from CRSP to Compass on January 1, 2026.
Ministerial Pension Plan (MPP, for clergy service 1983–2006)—new flexibility

General Conference approved a new alternative that permits retirees to have 65% of their MPP account balance paid in monthly installments through LifeStage Retirement Income, instead of being annuitized.

  • This is an option—the participant would need to “elect” this option. The default is annuitization for retirees who don’t elect this option.
  • Clergy who intend to retire July 1 can choose to adjust their benefit application to include this new LSRI option.
  • Retirees already receiving payments from their 65% annuity are not eligible for this new option.

Learn more:

Retirement Plan for General Agencies—close the plan

General Conference approved the petition to close RPGA and transfer participants’ RPGA account balances to the Personal Investment Plan (PIP, also known as UMPIP or United Methodist Personal Investment Plan). We’ll provide more information as we get closer to implementing this change.

  • Most participants in the general agency plan currently are in both RPGA and PIP (or UMPIP). The change combines their retirement savings into one consolidated plan.
  • Closing RPGA does not change contribution amounts paid by the employer. Employer contributions will be paid into PIP (UMPIP) instead of RPGA.

Learn more:

Other General Conference Highlights


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Dimensions Newsletter

Financial, Health and Well-Being Information

Dimensions Newsletter

Financial, Health and Well-Being Information