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Board of Pensions and Benefits Announces New 403(b)(9) Vendor

CHICAGO, IL (August 6, 2019)—At the 134th Annual Meeting in June, delegates voted to affirm the decision to close the Covenant Pension Plan (CPP) to new participants after December 31, 2019. (See video link here and FAQs on the proposal here.) As part of this plan reorganization, new ministerial credentials (after December 31, 2019) will be placed directly into a mandatory 403(b)(9) plan (still employer-funded at the same 12.5%). As noted in both the video and the FAQs, existing CPP participants will also maintain future options to consider enhanced participation in the 403(b)(9).

After careful deliberation, the Board of Pensions and Benefits is excited to announce that GuideStone Financial Services (GFS) will serve as our formal 403(b)(9) vendor as this plan becomes our primary retirement vehicle for Covenant pastors. Over the last few years, GFS has served the denomination well as a 403(b)(9) provider. More than 10% of ECC churches have already signed up with GFS on a purely elective basis.

In addition to caring for our pastors, enrolling in the GFS 403(b)(9) plan also provides a benefit for all employees of a local church (lay and pastor alike) who are now eligible to defer their own compensation into this plan on a pre-tax basis.

Over the next few months, the denomination will be providing substantial further education on plan changes while also finalizing changes to the 403(b)(9) rules, investment lineup, and fee structure in preparation for the 12/31/2019 deadline. In the meantime, we encourage local churches to review the FAQs and video, and begin the process of exploring and signing up with GFS.

Not all ECC congregations will have a required GFS participant on January 1, 2020, but signing up provides a wonderful (and purely elective) benefit for all employees, while also ensuring that the church is fully ready when required to fund into GFS in the future. The process is easy. Begin to explore www.GuideStone.org, and feel free to enroll / inquire about the ECC Associational Plan by contacting Dixie.Beard@GuideStone.org and Kent.Gayle@GuideStone.org.

If you have further questions, we invite you to send questions or feedback to CovPensionFeedback@covchurch.org. If needed, questions can be directed to Paul Hawkinson, director of pensions, at (312) 307-8774.

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