Easing retirement worries

Pension fund creates companion plans for Mexico, Liberia, Puerto Rico
April 30, 2005

The Church Pension Fund has announced the creation of companion–pension plans for the Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, the Episcopal Church of Liberia and the Diocese of Puerto Rico.

“We are energized by our new or renewed relationships with these dioceses and look forward to providing these services and benefits in the spirit of collaboration and partnership,” said CPF President Dennis Sullivan.

In 1995, when the Mexican church became an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion, a requirement was establishing a pension plan for the province whose clergy had participated in the U.S. clergy pension plan.

Pension officials said it was difficult to establish a separate defined benefit plan because of the number of clergy involved. They have established a companion pension plan that will provide seamless benefits for clergy, incorporating all their years of ministry. The Liberian church was part of the Episcopal Church until 1982, when it became a diocese of the Province of West Africa.

When the commercial U.S. company that administered the plan withdrew from the agreement in 2002, CPF was asked for technical assistance. After three years of planning, an official signing ceremony recently marked the new plan, which provides equal benefits for clergy and lay employees in one plan.

“We believe we will learn from our friends in Liberia, even as we are pleased to be providing a service to them,” Sullivan said. Puerto Rico started its own diocesan plan for clergy and lay employees when it was granted independent, or “extra- provincial,” status in 1980. In 2003, General Convention welcomed Puerto Rico back into the Episcopal Church as a constituent diocese.

The new pension plan covers all clergy and lay employees with benefits very similar to those of clergy in the Episcopal Church, pension officials said. It provides benefits for years before 1980, as well as years when Puerto Rico was independent and since 2003.

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