Confirmed: Pensions Board Issues Traditionalist Plan Concerns, Wespath Updates FAQ



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Give it up!

We will not be able to agree on whether or not the pension settlement is gracious or punitive. I am no longer surprised that for 50 years people have not been choosing to become United Methodists.

betsy more than 2 years ago

A not-so-gracious exit for nonconforming annual conferences

Jeremy, you got it right in pointing out that in divvying up the spoils of a very painful divorce, somebody always loses. Under the Traditionalist Plan, exiting annual conferences would have to 'pay off' Wespath to protect the full pension rights of the minority of traditionalist clergy who would leave for other annual conferences where they would find ideological comfort (or at least their guaranteed pensions) in a rump UMC.
The exiting annual conferences would thus have significantly fewer financial resources from which to 'restore' the pension benefits that would otherwise be lost to clergy who would no longer benefit from being part of the unified fiscal system of the (former) United Methodist Church.
Not only that! Because of the preferential treatment enjoyed by transferring traditionalist clergy, exiting annual conferences would be 'robbed' of a percentage of the vested pension funds that would otherwise provide a guaranteed 'floor' for your pension.
You don't have to be an actuarial genius to see that any United Methodist clergy person in the existing system would be crazy to try to sink the Titanic In hopes that their little piece of it would float off and land intact on the shores of Nirvana Island in the South Pacific, allowing them to forget about all their fellow clergy who capsized and drowned in a sea of retirement debt when Wespath defaulted on their pension obligations.
Even the almighty Wespath can only work with what's in the bank, or with payments duly deposited by a smoothly and fully functioning fiscal system that's not at war with itself over 'irreconcilable differences' of opinion about some people's sexual behavior.
The guys (yes, most of them are males) threatening to sink the Titanic are those with protected financial resources, such as large, wealthy, and conservative multi-site congregations that are itching to leave United Methodism with a 'gracious exit' in place and a good excuse to cut and run--such as the One Church Plan. Without having to pay apportionments, they will have plenty in their slush funds to pay generous pensions to their formerly UM clergy.
Or, if they succeed in capturing the denominational flag of United Methodism, they can run Wespath the way they like, cut off the resources of those 'liberal' general boards and agencies they despise, and crack down on the Council of Bishops. And make sure the resulting system runs the way they want it to.
After those guys commandeer the ship, they won't have to walk the pension plank they're forcing the exiles to walk. It's a neat form of fiscal persecution. Especially when those guys deny that they're doing it. Intentionally.
It was Ben Franklin, no less, who warned his fellow insurrectionists that "We must...all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." It is the genius of our connectionalism to seek the welfare of the whole body, rather than preferential treatment for those who can pass a purity test at the expense of the rest of us.

Wayne more than 2 years ago


You admit that your calculations are double the amount that Wespath indicated in correspondence to you, yet your headline reads "Confirmed". How about "Corrected"? If a student answers an arithmetic problem of 2 + 2 = ? with the answer 8, and the teacher writes 4 on the paper in red ink, it hardly could be said that the teacher "Confirmed" the student's answer. You have little credibility.

Dave more than 2 years ago

Same as Private Industry

If I understand this issue correctly, the author is concerned that if he chooses to leave his current Defined Benefit Pension Plan (my assumption is that it is that type of plan) that it be frozen. Private Industry does not continue to contribute to your portion of such a plan when you are no longer employed by them. If you choose to leave then you are also choosing to leave the Retirement Plan. It is assumed that you will invest or join in a Retirement Plan wherever you are employed next. Not sure why this is a revelation or considered to be unfair or unjust. Please educate me if I somehow misunderstand this issue

Ed more than 2 years ago