Oklahoma leads in giving to clergy pension campaign

3/25/2011

Because of your donations to help poor UM clergy in other nations, the Oklahoma Annual Conference ranks first in the jurisdiction—and sixth among the 67 U.S. annual conferences—in supporting the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI).

The campaign was launched when U.S. United Methodists learned the dire living situations of many retired clergymen and women outside America.

A fully-funded pension system in the Oklahoma Conference provides income when our clergy members retire. Some of the central conferences (those outside America) have no pension structure.

CCPI has received $693,919.43 thus far in gifts from the Oklahoma Conference, according to a report received recently by Treasurer Brian Bakeman.

That total is surpassed only by the Detroit, Central Pennsylvania, North Carolina, North Georgia, and West Ohio Conferences.

Bob Long and Wendy Lambert, pastors at OKC-St. Luke’s, have promoted the initiative in Oklahoma. Rev. Dr. Long is a member of the General Board of Pensions & Health Benefits.

"It is very exciting to go to our GBOPHB meeting and hear how well our pensions are doing, and to celebrate the success of providing pensions for our brothers and sisters who work in such challenging situations and have so much less," Long said.

"Pastors in Africa, Philippines, Euro Asia, who serve in areas that are so challenging, receive so little in salary, and have no pension, are going to be provided a pension because of your generosity."

The campaign’s goal is $25 million. As of Dec. 31, funds and pledges had exceeded $21.5 million.

Rev. Lambert said, "I’ve served in such wonderful settings. It is important for me to help my brothers and sisters; they serve in much less hospitable, formidable places. We have a need to connect, a responsibility to them."

Long affirmed that, in spite of the U.S. economic downturn and volatility of the financial markets, the general board "has done a wonderful job managing our assets so that everyone’s pension is safe and secure," he said.

"However, the really exciting thing is that, even during this period of economic turmoil, United Methodists have continued in their very generous giving toward our Central Conference Pension Initiative.

"On behalf of all those on the other side of the world, who labor like us in sharing the Gospel of Christ, let me say thank you for the way you care."


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