Bridging the Unexpected
The mission of Pension Fund of the Christian Church is For the Support of Ministry. Our vision is every Stone-Campbell pastor and lay employee will enjoy a strong, smart, and secure retirement.
MRA Purpose Statement
To meet the evolving needs of new and active clergy and their family, seeking to sustain them in ministry. MRA bridges the gap with support programs in time of need. Ministerial Relief – a Bridge for Financial Wellness.
Three Pillars of Support
Pension Fund has organized Ministerial Relief and Assistance programs into three areas of support that focus on helping those in ministry from seminary all the way through retirement.
Learn more by expanding each section below to find a brief program description.
Active Clergy Programs
The purpose of the Emergency Aid Program is to assist ministers with large, unexpected financial obligations. Applicants will be asked to provide copies of outstanding bills for direct payment if aid is approved. Note: Pension Fund policies now establish a lifetime limit for emergency aid. Any credentialed minister or his/her surviving spouse can apply for Emergency Aid.
Excellence in Ministry
Excellence in Ministry (EIM) provides early-call pastors with financial education and a relief grant that can be used for student debt, emergency savings, or retirement. Only Disciples of Christ ministers in their first five years since ordination or commissioning are eligible to apply. Learn more about Excellence in Ministry and how to apply by visiting our EIM page here.
Student Gift Membership
The purpose of the Student Gift Membership Program is to encourage early participation in the Pension Plan and to provide benefits to the student and family in the event of disability or untimely death. Learn more Student Gift and how to apply by visiting our Student Gift page here.
The Vocational Counseling Program helps Disciples ministers who are transitioning from full-time to part-time ministry, helping them discern complementary vocations that may add new streams of household income. The goal of the program is to mitigate burnout and help them stay in ministry longer. Once approved, the minister will meet for several sessions at no cost with an experienced career counselor selected by Pension Fund.
Low-Interest Loan Program
The Low-Interest Loan Program is to provide financial stability to Disciples ministers by helping them accelerate payoff of high-interest debts, such as credit cards and payday loans. It is only available to those who have successfully completed the Excellence in Ministry program.
Congregational Partnership Grants
Parental Leave Assistance
The Parental Leave Assistance Program partners with Disciples congregations to assist ministers as they take paid time off from congregational employment for the birth or adoption of a child. The program provides a grant of $2,500 to a congregation to help them provide paid leave for their pastor. To be eligible, a church must already have an approved, paid parental leave policy in place.
In partnership with Week of Compassion, the Disaster Relief Grant Program provides immediate relief to Disciples ministers whose homes and/or churches have experienced loss due to disaster, regardless of Pension Plan membership status. NOTE: This grant program is separate from solidarity grants from Week of Compassion. A minister may receive both if they fit the eligibility requirements. There is no application for this program; instead, recipients are referred to Pension Fund by either Week of Compassion or their regional minister.
Reserve Chaplain Dues
The purpose of the Reserve Chaplain dues program is to assist ministers whose civilian ministries are interrupted when called to active duty as military chaplains. With this program, Pension Fund pays a portion of the pastor’s pension dues while he/she is called to active chaplain duty.
Gift Pensions for New Church Planters
The New Church Gift Pension Program partners with new Disciples congregations by assisting new church ministers with Pension Plan membership. The program provides a five-year gift to supplement the pension dues paid by a new church start. As the church grows, the amount of the gift steps down each year, while the amount paid by the church increases. To be eligible, the church must be recognized as a new church start by their Disciples region.
Ministerial Relief Pensions
The purpose of a Ministerial Relief Pension is to assist a retired minister and surviving spouse who were never afforded the opportunity to participate in the Pension Plan. It provides an ongoing monthly gift if retirement income is low (i.e., less than 200% of poverty level, adjusted for regional cost-of-living).
The purpose of the Supplemental Gift Program is to assist a Pension Plan member and/or their surviving spouse, who have very low retirement income and where the low retirement is due to low salary and/or late entry into Pension Plan.
The purpose of the 13th Check is to provide a year-end gift to beneficiaries with the lowest retirement incomes with a goal of funding a full 13th check. There is no application for 13th Check – it is automatically provided to all Ministerial Relief Pensioners and Supplemental Gift recipients.
To apply for any of the programs listed above, contact your Regional Minister or contact Pension Fund by calling 866.495.7322 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.