UMFA sponsors pre-retirement seminar for clergy

Nearly four dozen pastors age 58 or over, as well as some of their spouses, on April 3 and 4 participated in a pre-retirement seminar sponsored by the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas (UMFA).

“As people retire, they have many productive years left,” said the Rev. Mackey Yokem, UMFA grants administrator who also works on leadership development ministries for the foundation. “Our goal with the seminar was to help pastors and their spouses determine how best to apply their time, wisdom, and creative ideas to the 15 to 20 years after retirement. The foundation’s desire is to help clergy be effective leaders throughout their life, and this seminar brought ideas about how best to apply their passions after the appointment process is over.”

Both clergy members and spouses responded positively to the seminar.

“I do so want to thank the foundation for its investment in this well-thought-out session,” wrote the Rev. Maxine Allen of Little Rock. “You know that I go to a lot of meetings, and it was well worth the time and effort of attendance.”

Keith Lawrence, a nationally recognized retirement authority and author of Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement, provided timely and easy-to-use hints about how to deal with retirement even before it starts. Judy Mattox of Rogers, wife of the Rev. Dr. Michael Mattox, characterized the presentation as surprisingly enlightening, entertaining, and dynamic.

“I particularly enjoyed Keith’s idea that couples should write their separate bucket lists and then get together for a combined bucket list,” she said. “Michael and I were working on ours before we got home from the meeting.”

Another speaker at the seminar was Bob Christophel of WesPath (formerly the UMC General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits) who presented retirement facts and figures and demonstrated how to complete necessary forms for retirement benefits. He was available for private consultation so participants could ask questions about their accounts.

UMFA vice president for development Janet Marshall also made a presentation, speaking about the resources the foundation can provide to help with creating a will and making charitable gift decisions.

Jim Argue Jr., UMFA president and CEO, said that adding Yokem, a retired pastor, to the UMFA staff this past year has brought a new perspective to UMFA.

“Mackey’s years as a pastor in the Arkansas Conference have allowed us to develop new relationships, expand possibilities and add opportunities for outreach, taking grant-making and leadership development to a new level,” he said.

UMFA manages $145 million in endowment funds and other charitable assets that benefit local churches and other United Methodist ministries. Founded in 1963 and now one of the largest United Methodist foundations in the country, UMFA is responsible for more than 750 funds that support United Methodist ministries.