The Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits will present a proposal for a Retiree Healthcare Trust during the upcoming 2022 South Georgia Annual Conference session, set for June 5-8 in Columbus.
This proposal aims to secure healthcare coverage for retired clergy and conference staff of the South Georgia Conference no matter what happens in the denomination or annual conference.
“You are probably aware of the discussions going on in our denomination about what our future looks like - whether we remain a single united denomination or split into one or more separate groups,” Dr. Ben Martin, chair of the Board of Pension, said in a video. “The future of The United Methodist Church is not clear at this point.”
The Board has considered what potential changes might be in store for South Georgia churches, pastors, and the annual conference. Over the past few years its focus has been on ensuring clergy pensions are as secure as possible, explained Martin. Meeting that goal allowed the Board to consider other retiree needs, such as retiree healthcare.
The Board appointed a Task Force to look at the options and make a recommendation. The Task Force reviewed how other conferences are funding retiree healthcare, considered actuarial projections for South Georgia clergy, and consulted with Wespath and other legal authorities. Members of the Task Force include: Marcus Tripp, co-pastor of Mulberry Street UMC, Scott Hagan, senior pastor of Statesboro First UMC, Connie Flannigan, healthcare social worker and lay member of South Columbus UMC, Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services, and Cater Thompson, Conference Chancellor.
After much research and discussion, the Board of Pension believes it has found a way to secure funding for retiree healthcare. Below is the outline of the proposal: