Northern Illinois Conference Outlines Pension Impact

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1) The language about pension benefits for annual conferences exiting The United Methodist Church was written by Wespath, not by the originators of the Traditional Plan. We have trusted Wespath to come up with a proposal that would not diminish pension benefits for those leaving the denomination.
2) Wespath is proposing that GC2020 convert the pension program for everyone remaining in The United Methodist Church to a defined contribution plan. This approach would eliminate all unfunded liabilities going forward. The money put into the plan for each participant would secure the level of retirement income for each participant. The denomination cannot afford long-term the commitments described in the article.

If #2 is correct, then all clergy, whether leaving or staying, will be on a different pension program that limits future unfunded liabilities.

Rev. Thomas Lambrecht more than 2 years ago


Thomas, Wespath does not endorse plans. They do not say that the proposal, "would not diminish pension benefits for those leaving the denomination." They have said that when an annual conference leaves or is forced out of the denomination under the traditional plan provision, "accrual of future benefits will cease," and that the plan for that conference is, "frozen." This is explained in the Northern Illinois Conference pension statement. I don't believe your point 1) is fully candid.

Secondly, while Wespath is considering a proposal to end defined benefit programs in The UMC, that would only impact future years of service and not the years of service already worked. Such a pension program would not, "limit future unfunded liabilities" for the liabilities that already exist.

Traditional Plan proponents want to waive away the devastating impact of their plan on the pensions of clergy in separating conferences. I can understand why, it is incredibly cruel to them. But the impact is real and shouldn't be disguised. Clergy who have done nothing wrong will see over $100,000 impacts on their future pension payments should their conference decide to depart or be forced out. To not reveal that is a disservice to fair examination of the plans.

Lonnie Chafin more than 2 years ago

I'd be concerned.

The strong, conservative conferences understand that as long as they keep their conference together, they can continue to fund their pension benefits. If we end up with a bad solution that isn't in line with their congregations, that's the threat to pension benefits continuing to be funded. They understand that if we can't settle our differences that they are better off on their own. And the practice of homosexuality is inconsistent with historical Christian teaching (the Bible, Catholic doctrine, the Protestant Reformation). They went as far left as they could (didn't call it a sin, implored not to condemn or reject, supported marriage rights) and that wasn't good enough.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago

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