UMC 2012 General Conference Votes to Continue Clergy Lifetime Pension Benefit
May 4, 2012
Tampa, FL—The United Methodist Church 2012 General Conference (the Church’s governing body) voted in favor of continuing a combined Defined Benefit-Defined Contribution plan (similar to the current Clergy Retirement Security Program) but with reduced benefits and reduced costs. This plan will continue the historical denominational value of providing a lifetime benefit to clergy and their surviving spouses.
The General Conference, after broad discussion and questions to clarify the differences between the pension plan options under consideration, supported the pension plan recommended by the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits board of directors and by the Financial Administration committee of General Conference.
The Defined Benefit-Defined Contribution plan petition (referred to as the “restated Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP)”) is expected to result in first-year cost reductions to annual conferences of over 20%, making the retirement plan more affordable. Costs reductions will be achieved by a reduction in the benefits provided to plan participants. While this plan continues clergy pension support for life, it also means clergy will need to become more engaged in managing the defined contribution portion of the pension plan and save more for retirement in order to maintain their standard of living.