June 26 Update from the Pension Boards

Dear Friends,

Two weeks ago, we published A Pastoral Reflection on Racism, the Pension Boards’ statement in response to the killing of George Floyd and the many other African Americans who have died as a result of racist violence. Our statement was both a theological reflection and a commitment to action.

The executive leadership team is taking action, and I am pleased to report that we have engaged the Rev. Dr. Velda Love, Minister for Racial Justice for the United Church of Christ, to lead us in a series of Sacred Conversations to End Racism (SC2ER) – A Restorative Racial Justice Journey. I invite you to read an interview with Dr. Love to learn more about her ministry and passion for racial justice work. Our SC2ER conversations will take place in July and August. We will report on additional actions planned by Pension Boards colleagues as we continue our journey.

We have successfully completed an onsite orientation and onboarding of the 2020 Summer Interns you heard about in last week’s message. The interns are now working with their respective mentors and departments on action plans that will help us in moving our strategic objectives forward. Please read the brief reflection (below) from our Marketing and Communications intern about what she has already learned in these few days and her hopes for her experience with the Pension Boards.

We are now nearing the end of the fifteenth week of our current organizational reality. The interns, along with a few staff colleagues, were also engaged in testing of Phase 2 of our Return-to-Work plan, which consists of small groups of colleagues returning to the office with protocols in place to ensure their health and safety, including temperature testing and social distancing in our workspace.

While the Pension Boards is in the testing process for Phase 2, we have not yet confirmed a date for its implementation. For the time being, staff will continue to telework, with a few exceptions for colleagues who perform functions that necessitate their being in the office periodically. Although we do not have a firm date for the reopening of our offices, we will continue to follow the advice of state and local government officials and the medical community, and keep you informed as plans unfold.

Please note that the Pension Boards will be closed on Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day, reopening on Monday, June 6. We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and safe holiday.

Thank you for all that you are doing on behalf of the United Church of Christ.

Brian R. Bodager
President/CEO



Summer 2020 Internship Program: A Message from Sheik Floradewan, Marketing and Communications Intern

Nothing about this year was how I had planned it or even imagined. We are facing a difficult economy, coming to terms with our county's own inequities, and still amid a pandemic. Despite the circumstances, I am grateful to have been able to start my internship with the Pension Boards this week and to have gotten the opportunity to come into the office for a three-day orientation that followed CDC guidelines for reopening and ensured our safety. From the first day, I felt very welcomed by everyone and that I belonged there to serve a purpose. On our third day, the President and CEO Brian Bodager led a roundtable discussion in which he debriefed the interns on PBUCC's Strategic Plan for 2020. He explained to us the importance of understanding the company’s objectives and being accountable for them, and how everyone has a role to play. That was really empowering to me because I know I will be able to create meaningful work with PBUCC this summer. I hope to not only make a difference but walk away with professional relationships and connections that will last a lifetime.



Ministers’ Financial Vitality Initiative (MFVI)

Launched in 2017 with a grant from the Lilly Endowment, MFVI is a clergy financial wellness initiative that helps UCC ministers address these problems in two ways: 1) through a three-year online program of financial education and cash incentives and, 2) through a matching grant partnership with the minister’s employing church, Association, or Conference.

A second Lilly grant, awarded to the Pension Boards in late 2019, enables us to expand MFVI’s reach to more ministers in 2020. Applications and information for MFVI Program One (online program of financial education) will be available in mid-July on the Pension Boards website. The program will accept 60 new members in two cohorts and because of the Lilly Endowment’s generosity, we are now able to open the application process to all UCC authorized ministers. Look for the link to the online application for Program One in future messages.

Applications for Program Two (matching grants) are accepted on a rolling basis and are available now! Authorized ministers in congregational settings may apply.

Read more on MFVI >>



Generations Financial Resources: A New Service for MFVI Participants

Generations Financial Resources is a lending corporation to help alleviate the crushing burden of clergy indebtedness. Operating in coordination with the Minister’s Financial Vitality Initiative launched by the Pension Boards in 2017, it will combine personal finance education, needs-based grants to reduce debt levels, and most significantly, low-interest rate refinancing to substantially reduce the rates that our clergy are paying on their educational debt.

If you are not yet in the MFVI program, we encourage you to apply (see above) and become eligible for Generations Financial Resources. For more information, watch this video, and contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Take Advantage of No-Cost Financial Planning Services

For professional and unbiased one-on-one guidance on retirement planning, call an Ernst & Young LLP (EY) financial planner. EY Financial Planning Services® is a Pension Boards benefit offered at no cost to actively-contributing members of the Annuity Plan, as well as to retired members with annuitized accounts. Call the EY Navigate Financial Planner Line at 1.877.927.1047 or visit pbucc.eynavigate.com to learn more.



Emergency Grants from the Christmas Fund

If you are experiencing a critical situation and need financial assistance, you may be eligible for an Emergency Grant from the Christmas Fund if you are:

  • a currently Authorized Minister in the United Church of Christ;
  • a lay employee of a UCC congregation, Association, Conference, or National Setting with a minimum of 10 years of service;
  • a surviving spouse/partner of the above; or a
  • a Member in Discernment for at least a year.

If you meet the eligibility criteria described above, please contact your Conference staff, who will then reach out to Rev. Krista Betz, the Director of Ministerial Assistance, to begin the process. UCBMA can respond to the increasing requests for assistance because of the generosity of individuals and congregations to the Christmas Fund.



Christmas in July

Each year, our Christmas in July appeal for gifts to the Christmas Fund allows the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance to keep pace with requests for help from those who serve the church. This year of pandemic, that need is acute and urgent. Whether you have been supporting the Christmas Fund for years, responded to one of those recent email appeals with a gift, or have never donated before, our siblings need you now more than ever. A gift of any size can make a huge difference in the life of a stressed colleague. Your gift could make all the difference.

You can choose to give online, or make checks payable to UCBMA, earmarked for The Christmas Fund, then mail to: Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Christmas Fund, 75 Remittance Drive, Suite 1637, Chicago, IL 60675.



New UCC Medicare Advantage Plan with Rx Effective January 1, 2021

Humana, Inc., has been selected as the UCC Medical Plan’s vendor partner to administer the new UCC Medicare Advantage Plan with Rx, effective January 1, 2021. The new plan will replace the current UCC Medicare Supplement Plan w/Rx. Visit the Pension Boards’ website the week of June 29 to view a recorded webinar about the new Plan, and watch for more information by mail and email in the coming months.



Health Plans and COVID-19 Coverage

All UCC coverage (health, pharmacy, dental, and vision benefits) remains in place, with no discontinuation or interruption in service. Click on the button below for additional information about benefits – including expanded coverage – during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More About Health Plans >>



Online Payment Portal for Members and Employers

We strongly recommend that you take advantage of our online billing portals. Paying your monthly invoice electronically during this time is even more important. The Pension Boards online portal allows payments to be automatically applied to your account; it's simple, quick, and easy!

If you are unable to make your monthly payment online, it is essential that you include the remittance section from your invoice or include your employer or member ID on the check, and to mail your check to 75 Remittance Drive, Suite 1592, Chicago, IL 60675-1592.

Please do not send checks for Annuity Plan pension contributions and Health Plan premiums to the Pension Boards at 475 Riverside Drive. Not mailing your check to our bank’s lockbox in Chicago or including your remittance slip or including an ID on the check will result in delays on posting payments to your account.

Employers

If you have not already set up an employer account on our website, click here to register for online bill payment. Select the New User link to register. You will need to have a valid email address on file with the Pension Boards. If we do not have a valid email address, please contact our Member Services team at 1.800.642.6543. If a valid email address is on file, follow the steps to set up your account and create a password. Once registered, follow the steps below to pay your invoice:

  • Log into the website at https://employers.pbucc.org/.
  • Select Billing, and then select View/Pay Bill to review your list of employees and invoice amounts.
  • If you agree with the total amount displayed, select Pay Now to pay your invoice.
  • Follow the prompts on the screen to set up your payments.

Members

Log into www.pbucc.org and sign in to your account.

  • Click on Pay My Benefit Bill on the Benefit Selection page.
  • Select Pay Bill on the left-hand side of the page.



Member Services

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Our full Member Services staff team is available as before to take your calls and answer any questions you may have. They may be reached at 1.800.642.6543 as well as on the online chat function on our website.

During this time, please remember that you can fax or email documents and forms to us at 212.729.2701 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., respectively, avoiding delays that may occur with postal mail.


Stay informed. Visit the Pension Boards’ website, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Take Advantage of No-Cost Financial Planning Services

For professional and unbiased one-on-one guidance on retirement planning, call an Ernst & Young LLP (EY) financial planner. EY Financial Planning Services® is a Pension Boards benefit offered at no cost to actively-contributing members of the Annuity Plan, as well as to retired members with annuitized accounts. Call the EY Navigate Financial Planner Line at 1.877.927.1047 or visit pbucc.eynavigate.com to learn more.