The stories are numerous, and the theme is always the same—years of devotion and sacrifice and dedication to the Church, followed by years of hardship during retirement.
"The North Georgia Conference is responding to critical needs of retired clergy and surviving spouses in many of the Central Conferences of The United Methodist Church through the Central Conference Pension Initiative," said Bishop Mike Watson. "Those of us who are so richly blessed are grateful to have this wonderful opportunity to support our sisters and brothers in United Methodist ministry who deserve at least some minimum retirement benefits."
Approximately 2,000 retired pastors, lay workers and surviving spouses in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe are struggling to survive—growing their own food, relying on their children and even creating products to sell.
A recent update on giving to CCPI reports that 90.5 percent of the $20 million minimum campaign goal has been reached. More than $18 million has been raised to date! The current total from North Georgia is $1,195,091.57, which is 6 1/2 percent of the total raised, and does not include the $500,000 cash gift from an anonymous individual Georgia donor.
In July CCPI staff members visited Mozambique to evaluate its pension pilot project which has been in effect since January. At that time 99 retired clergy and surviving spouses in the two Mozambique annual conferences had received three quarterly pension payments ranging from $288 to $384 based on years of service. They use the funds for food, housing, medications and school fees for their children and grandchildren. The organization verified fund distributions and identified challenges that may need to be addressed.
For more information about CCPI and to download resources, visit www.ccpi-umc.org.