Generations of Service: Faith and Finance in Action
For more than one hundred years, the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA) has served those who faithfully serve our United Church of Christ (UCC). Our mission is to support and empower these servants of the church, both active and retired, over the course of their whole lives.
Our work grows out of our commitment to a vision of what it takes to be a vibrant church in these challenging times: a church that cares for its leaders and builds sustainable ministry in congregations that transform lives every day.
In 2017, we embarked on the Generations of Service: Faith and Finance in Action $20,000,000 capital funds campaign to bring that vision to life.
- UCC pastors living out their lives and ministries debt-free because they are equipped with the skills and resources to manage their personal finances and achieve financial vitality.
- Young UCC pastors equipped with leadership skills and empowered to see beyond limitations and bring new vision and purpose to their congregations.
- Stressed and over-burdened clergy given the opportunity to reflect, re-engage, and revive their call to ministry through holistic wellness retreats.
- Every UCC minister living in retirement with dignity and security because they are provided with necessary financial resources to supplement their income.
- UCC ministers and lay employees living on long-term disability receiving monthly assistance so that they no longer struggle to make ends meet.
This vision is a reality today because of the commitment and financial support of the generations that came before us. The lives of so many who serve the UCC are being empowered, strengthened, and transformed for effective ministry and personal wholeness right now.
The Generations of Service campaign is an expression of our commitment today to meet the growing need for ministerial assistance and leadership initiatives that we know the church will face in the near future and for years to come.
In 2018, Campaign staff visited and worked with local church leaders and Conference and Association Ministers in 19 of the 38 Conferences of the UCC, educating them about UCBMA and the Campaign, hosting events, meeting with individual donors and pastors, and securing more than $7,000,000 in commitments and gifts.
"This unique partnership between the Hawai’i Conference and The Arcadia Foundation with the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA) through the Generations of Service: Faith and Finance in Action campaign will allow us to be a viable force in the lives of UCC retirees in Hawai’i. Through the compassionate response of UCBMA’s assistance, retirees in extreme need who have long been overlooked will now be able to live out their years in dignity. It’s our tradition to care for our own and this partnership will further that tradition."
Sherman Hee, Executive Director of the Hawai’i Conference Foundation
Generations of Service: An Extension of Family
In Hawai’i, as clergy and lay employees reach the age of retirement, most are retiring in not-so-good health, with limited income, and no pension funds to support their future years. The needs here are countless.
When I was the Associate Conference Minister for the Hawai’i Conference, we received numerous calls from retiring clergy who expressed that they did not have enough finances to survive Hawai’i’s high cost of living.
I would say that about 90% of Pacific Islanders both clergy and lay do not have a pension or quality health benefits. While many pastors are enrolled in the state Medicare program to care for their health needs, they don’t participate in the pension plan because they don’t understand how the plan works.
American Samoans and Hawaiians are surviving by relying on their own families for assistance to meet their basic day-to-day needs. It is this family structure where immediate or extended family come together to care for each other.
Our partnership with the Generations of Service: Faith and Finance in Action campaign will be an extension of this family dynamic - impacting clergy and lay employees in a new way. The campaign will help create educational opportunities, workshops, and the ability to work with conference offices to let them know that the Pension Boards is here to help through assistance with pension supplementation, grant support, emergency assistance, and the opportunity for young local pastors to participate in sustainable leadership development programs.
A Compassionate Response
Last year, after we signed the Generations of Service partnership, I was so touched by the assistance extended by the Pension Boards to the wife of one our colleagues who passed on. The wife needed assistance in covering funeral costs.
I read the Pension Boards letter of support in front of the entire congregation. The wife said crying, “Wow, this is really an angel stepping in.” The funds from the Pension Boards helped defray the funeral costs; and the pastor who passed on was not a participant of the pension program.
This program is important for our church. It is the compassionate response of a “family member” that is needed to help our clergy and lay employees retire with dignity as they participate in the services provided through the Pension Boards.