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Pension fund limits employees’ role in wider church

Pension fund limits employees’ role in wider church

We’ve learned that The Church Pension Group has a new policy as of last week’s Board of Trustees meeting. It limits the role that its employees can play in the Episcopal Church. Part of the policy reads:

CPG Employees who serve the Episcopal Church Employees may not serve, in a personal, elected, or appointed capacity, on any Church-wide governance body of the Episcopal Church including, but not limited to, a deputy of General Convention, a member of the Executive Council or any Committees, Commissions, Agencies and/or Boards of the General Convention, or any other church-wide position.

Additionally, other than the President and CEO of the Church Pension Fund, no employee may serve as a Trustee of the Church Pension Fund.

This is an intriguing development because one candidate for President of the House of Deputies (the Rev. Gay Jennings) and one potential candidate for vice president (Sally Johnson) have recently announced their retirements from jobs with CPG. But they are hardly the only pension fund employees who were active and influential in the Episcopal Church.

Another part of the policy restricts but does not prohibit involvement in dioceses and congregations.

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Elizabeth Anderson

Is the whole text of this available somewhere? The part that seems a little odd to me is restricting involvement in congregations. (Just things like vestry, or….?) It seems like active membership in a congregation is the sort of thing that should be encouraged. I can understand (I think) the part about holding church-wide positions. But, congregations??

Ann Fontaine

I believe those in process for ordination should not serve as Deputies in either order — I am sure they have a great reason for the need for their presence but I think they should resign and give their seat to another who is truly lay.

Elizabeth Anderson

There are definitely dioceses who have people in the ordination process serving as lay deputies. One of our current alternates is, and I know of others who have done so in the past. I don’t love it, but given that they are not allowed to serve as clergy deputies until they are actually ordained, it ultimately does seem like the fairest way….

We were also wondering as a deputation what would happen if one of our clergy deputies was elected bishop. It didn’t end up happening, but we were assuming that he would still remain a clergy deputy since he wouldn’t actually be consecrated yet or able to vote in the House of Bishop…

Jim Naughton

Lelanda, CPG has no power to bind the House of Deputies, so it does not mean that Gay and Sally can’t stand for election. I don’t know what the terms of their retirements are, but I can’t imagine that CPG would think that a policy it put in place after these two had announced their retirements is to be interpreted retroactively. I don’t have answers to your other questions.

Lelanda Lee

Does this mean that technically, Gay Jennings and Sally Johnson cannot stand for election for PHoD and VPHoD until their retirements are effective? Did the Church Pension Fund policy establish any penalties for noncompliance with the board policy? What will enforcement look like, besides voluntary compliance?

Speaking from the Diocese of Colorado, I know that the bishop here asked?/required? a General Convention alternate in 2009 to resign that GC position when he became a postulant for Holy Orders. Is that happening elsewhere, too?

Lelanda Lee

Lay 3, Colorado

Member, Executive Council

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