Mission agency loses 24 staff to retirement
4/14/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York
NOTE: For related coverage of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries' meeting, see UMNS stories #217-219.
Ala. (UMNS) - Twenty-four staff from the United Methodist Board of
Global Ministries are retiring June 30 because of changes in the
denomination's pension plan.
The list of retirees was presented during the agency's April 7-10 meeting in Birmingham.
his address to board directors, the Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive,
spoke about his regret that pension changes for lay employees could
affect the board's operations.
"These persons, all of them laity
and most of them women, were more or less given an ultimatum: retire now
or lose a big part of your benefits," he said. "We have protested this
policy directly to the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, to
no avail, and we cannot blame persons for acting to protect the
benefits they rightfully have earned."
The pensions board has
changed its policy for converting pension account balances to annuities
at retirement. Effective July 2, lay employees who retire and choose to
"annuitize" their pension accounts will do so at a floating market rate
rather than the longtime fixed rate of 8 percent. Current market rates
are at 5 percent or less, Board of Global Ministries staff members have
Day noted that "some of our most creative and
productive employees" had felt compelled to retire. "This is a blow," he
added. "We will recover from it, but we shall greatly miss colleagues
we had not expected to replace for five or more years."
affected is the Women's Division, which is losing five executive staff -
most of whom had 10 or more years of service apiece - as well as two
longtime professional staff and one support staff.
The Board of Global Ministries currently has more than 400 employees, including about 100 in the Women's Division.
Women's Division retirees are Maxine West, Mary Louise Head, Ann
Needham, Ressie Mae Bass and Marilyn Clement. Also retiring are Melba
Smith and Velta Hartstern, professional staff, and Lorraine Walton,
The general board retirees include Lorene Wilbur, a top executive.
retirees, including executive, professional and support staff, are
Sarla Chand, Peggy Halsey, Ruth Lawson and Andrea Thomas, Community and
Institutional Ministries unit; Elizabeth Calvin, Zebediah Marewangepo,
Monique Serres and Elaine Steele, Mission Context and Relationships
unit; Wilma Roberts and John Kirk, Office of the General Secretary; Fred
Christian, Nancy Quigley and Brenda Wilkinson, Coordinated Services;
Betty Purkey, Mission Personnel and Stella Bolioli, Financial Services.
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