Board of Pensions Information and Guidance

A Letter to Pittsburgh Presbytery from
Rev. Brian Wallace
Associate Minister for Emerging Ministries &
Acting Head of Staff
Thursday, April 14, 2024

Dear Friends-

I often used this space to reflect on a biblical, theological, or leadership concept that has relevance for all of those who serve as leaders in our congregations.  Other times, I feel it is more pertinent to the vitality of our leaders and congregations to focus on more practical and specific matters, and today is one of those days.  If you are a pastor in our Presbytery, specifically one serving a congregation, or involved in congregational leadership, understanding the upcoming changes to the Board of Pensions Benefits Plan is crucial. I urge you to read on.

We have known for quite some time that a significant change was coming in the format and structure of the Board of Pensions Benefits Plan. Last Wednesday, the Board released the first round of information about the plan’s specifics.  Since then, there has been much discussion about the coming changes starting in 2025 on various online forums.  At this point, I want you to know and do three things.

  1. Please visit and read the information the board has released.
  2. Please make arrangements to attend a meeting with our Board of Pensions representative on June 5th starting at 10 a.m. at the Presbytery Office. You can attend this meeting either in person or via Zoom.  For those attending in person, there will be a complimentary lunch after the meeting. Pastors, as well as other Congregational leaders and staff, are welcome to attend. You can sign up for the gathering using this link.    
  3. Please know that our Commission on Ministry is already hard at work seeking to understand all the details of the new plan and how it will impact our pastors and congregations.  The COM had an initial meeting yesterday and is scheduled to meet with our Board of Pensions representative in the coming month and again at our May COM meeting.  We are committed to working diligently to ensure these changes are fully implemented into our Minimum Terms of Call for 2025 in time for their incorporation into church budgets.

To close, a word of caution.  I am well aware that the level of anxiety and concern among some in regard to these changes is high.  I understand that concern well as I am among those whom this will directly impact as I am the sole provider of medical coverage for my family.  I have, however, been alarmed by some of the language, rhetoric, and, indeed, complete speculation that has been thrown around regarding this change.  While this can feel therapeutic, it does little good for our community of faith, as that shifts our focus into assigning blame rather than identifying solutions.  When it comes to medical insurance, there is much that we cannot control.  The changes we are experiencing here are yet another reminder that much of what we’ve come to accept as normal in the life of the church can no longer be normal, and we must think creatively and strategically about how to uphold our core values as we seek to fulfill the Great Ends of the Church in 2024 and beyond.

In Christ,


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