General Assembly backgrounder: BOP, PILP, PPC, Foundation

An Assembly Committee that only acronym maniacs could love will address items of business related to four of the six national agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ― the Board of Pensions (BOP), Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program(PILP), Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) and the Presbyterian Foundation ― at the denomination’s 221st General Assembly, June 14-21 in Detroit.

Topping the agenda for the Assembly Committee 12: BOP, PILP, PPC and Foundation will be the confirmation of two presidents: the Rev. Tom Taylor to a second four-year term as president of the Foundation (12-07) and Frank Spencer, a Charlotte, N.C., businessman and soon-to-be-ordained Presbyterian minister as the new president of the Board of Pensions (12-11).

During his first term as Foundation president, Taylor ― a former pastor in southern California and deputy executive director for mission for the General Assembly Mission Council (now the Presbyterian Mission Agency) ― implemented a new strategic plan that increased new assets under the Foundation’s management from $18 million in 2010 to $30 million in 2013; partnered with two investment advisors to take over management of the Foundation’s investments; and restructured its field staff to focus on building relationships with congregations and pastors.

If confirmed by the Assembly, Spencer will assume the presidency of the Board of Pensions on July 1, succeeding Robert W. Maggs, who is retiring after 15 years as head of the Philadelphia-based agency which administers the PC(USA)’s pension, healthcare, death and disability and special assistance programs for active and retired church workers.

Spencer, a former member of the BOP board of directors who resigned his seat prior to his election in March, was most recently CEO/president of Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte. Previously he was CEO of Cogdell Spencer Inc., a health care real estate investment trust. From 2005-2011 Spencer served on the board of the Montreat Conference Center, including four years as chair.

In other business, Assembly Committee 12 will consider:

  • An overture from Kiskiminetas Presbytery (12-01) that would require participation in the BOP benefits plans for any temporary pastoral relationship filled by a non-retired minister serving more than 20 hours a week. Currently only full-time installed pastors are mandated for BOP coverage. Kiskiminetas argues that fewer and fewer pastors are receiving benefits as fewer PC(USA) churches are able to afford a full-time pastor.
  • An overture from Tropical Florida Presbytery (12-02) that would direct the BOP to pay all accumulated benefits as a lump sum to all active pension plan members who leave the PC(USA) for another denomination. The BOP opposes the proposal on the grounds that no members are currently allowed to “cash out” their pension credits and that the IRS would require consent of the member to even do so.
  • An overture from National Capital Presbytery (12-03) urging the BOP to post on its website the list of churches ― there were 491 at the end of 2012 ― that have applied for and received “Relief of Conscience” status, thereby having their healthcare dues segregated to ensure they are not used to pay for abortions.
  • Confirmation of new members to the PILP board of directors (12-05) and to the New Covenant Trust Company ― a subsidiary of the Foundation ― board of directors (12-08).

Assembly Committee 12 ― BOP, PILP, PPC and Foundation will be covered for the General Assembly Communication Center by Eva Stimson, a freelance writer and editor in Louisville.