Wespath’s Thoughts on Disaffiliation Scenarios

Wespath has been planning for various potential scenarios that might affect the future structure of The United Methodist Church (UMC), with emphasis on assuring that clergy benefits remain as secure as possible. Since the postponement of General Conference was announced, we have received questions from many individuals throughout the denomination regarding the impact of various disaffiliation scenarios on pension benefits and withdrawal liability. We have also seen incorrect information regarding the pension impact in emails, social media, and other sources. For example, several sources have made inaccurate statements that a local church or group of churches that separates from the UMC can “take its pension obligations with it” and “avoid a pension withdrawal liability payment.” We have updated FAQs and created briefer, more focused FAQs to address those statements and other questions.

In addition, Wespath has added a session to the Conference Forum Agenda for Friday to discuss the General Conference postponement and related disaffiliation topics.

Disaffiliation Impact on Clergy Benefits

To aid in understanding how changing a clergyperson’s relationship with The United Methodist Church impacts benefits (retirement, health, disability and death benefits), we’ve been asked to provide a quick summary of the impact of surrendering credentials to join another denomination. This chart provides a high-level summary of impacts on active and retired clergy. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to your Wespath Client Relationship Manager or Client Services Manager. These older FAQs also provide some details (pages 10-13).

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a general agency of The United Methodist Church

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