Nov. 23, 2004
By Joretta Purdue*
Ill. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s financial administration
agency expects to start moving staff into a new headquarters building in
Nashville, Tenn., later in 2005.
members of the General Council on Finance and Administration saw
pictures of the building where its Evanston and Nashville staff will be
combined during their Nov. 18-20 annual meeting in Evanston. The
Nashville property purchase, which is contingent on various structural
and environmental inspections, will provide a new headquarters for the
modifications of the space will be made in the first seven months of
2005, allowing the present Nashville staff to move into the building in
August. Services currently provided in Evanston will gradually be moved
during the following 12 months to minimize disruption. Sale of both
properties currently occupied by the agency is anticipated.
five years, GCFA expects to realize a net savings from the move,
according to Sandra Lackore, head of the agency and treasurer of the
United Methodist Church.
money is also part of the motivation for founding the captive insurance
company that GCFA launched for the church, at this meeting, by
providing initial funding and becoming the first member. Such a company
is owned by the insured entities that share a certain amount of risk.
Beyond that point, reinsurance is provided by a larger reinsurer.
currently paying millions of dollars ... to a for-profit organization”
for insurance, said Craig Parrish, chairman of the committee that formed
United Methodist Property and Casualty Trust.
owners, GCFA and annual conferences will take on some risk and have
more leverage with the reinsurance company to achieve price stability
and broader coverage, Parrish explained. PACT will be marketed to annual
conferences initially, and their local churches will be part of that.
PACT is not able to serve individual congregations at this time, he
added. The general agencies of the denomination are eligible to join.
stressed the importance of PACT’s theological foundation, which he
believes supports the company’s ability to “offer protection and
justice.” And he emphasized the risk management opportunities to prevent
such things as sexual misconduct or theft and to work for justice for
victims rather than solely seeking to minimize costs.
“We insure mission and ministry,” he declared.
will include property, general liability (casualty), automobile
liability, sexual misconduct, pastoral professional liability, employee
benefits liability, bonding, worker’s compensation, directors and
officers’ liability, and employment practices liability. Health
insurance is not included.
of dollars in equity can be put back into ministry,” Parrish said,
“depending on our actual experience of loss.” He pointed to the success
of several other denominations and religious organizations, varying from
the Assemblies of God, which only has one year of experience, to the
Seventh Day Adventists, which has 68 years. “No religious captive has
ever failed,” he added.
the denomination, a similar plan in the Florida Annual (regional)
Conference has been successful even with multiple events during the 2004
hurricane season, Parrish said. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, many
insurers withdrew from the Florida market.
approval of the formation of the captive insurance company, GCFA
executives will seek to incorporate the company in Washington.
Irene Howard, who has been general counsel for GCFA, has been
designated chief executive officer of PACT. She also was named GCFA
deputy general secretary for strategic initiatives, effective Jan. 1.
James R. Allen, who joined the GCFA legal team in 2003, has been named
general counsel to succeed Howard.
another transition in the denomination’s structure, the GCFA, acting as
trustee for the whole church, accepted the responsibility for control
of all properties formerly owned by the General Council on Ministries,
which was discontinued by the 2004 General Conference, the
denomination’s top legislative body. GCFA members authorized the GCFA
executive committee to act as needed for the agency and trustees
regarding GCOM property to implement the transition team’s plans for
provided support – financial and staff – for several studies, including
Connectional Ministry Funding Patterns II, the GCFA Data Services Study
and the Study of the Episcopacy.
In other action, GCFA members:
- Approved the 2005 spending plans of the denomination’s general agencies.
- Agreed to the 2005 Episcopal Fund spending plan of just more than $17.1 million.
- Reviewed and approved financial plans for several national or international conferences.
- Elected to coordinate retiree pharmacy benefits with Medicare Part D.
guidelines for the submission of requests for grants from World Service
and General Administration contingency funds.
certification or recertification for more than 100 professional United
Methodist Church secretaries and two church business administrators.
members joined in celebrating the 16 years of service of Elizabeth
Okayama, who works in administering the Episcopal Fund in support of the
bishops, and the six years of service of the Rev. Robert W. Fishel, a
GCFA executive in the area of finance and administration. Okayama
retires in March and Fishel in June.
The council’s next meeting will be Nov. 17-20, 2005, at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
*Purdue is a former United Methodist News Service news director.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.