Two overtures are coming to Synod next week regarding the current pension system of the denomination.
Overture 17 from Classis BC Northwest observes that the flat rate of pension pay-in by a congregation for their minister unduly taxes (pun intended) the reserves of smaller churches. The request embedded in this overture is that Synod re-evaluate with an eye toward the burden placed on smaller churches. No recommendation for accomplishing this task is provided.
Overture 16 from Classis Grand Rapids East recognizes a relatively new phenomena in our denomination, although other denominations have surely done the work required to sort out this problem. The issue is of clergy couples who share one job description between them. The pension system has no way of accounting (pun intended) for an equitable distribution between the couple, especially in the case that the one carrying the benefits precedes the other in death. Two solutions are proposed but I’d be curious, as well, what provisions have been made for this – say in Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches – over the past several decades.
What say you?
- Do you serve or attend a small church that is unduly burdened by paying into the Minister’s Pension Fund?
- Do you have any ideas for an equitable fix?
- Have you heard of other denominations compensating in their pensions programs for the new-er reality of clergy couple serving together?