Central Conference Pension Timeline

Central Conference Pension serves 2,831 retired clergy/surviving spouses and 9,000 active clergy in the central conferences (conferences outside the U.S.).

Late 1990s

United Methodist Board of Global Ministries notes that central conference pastors who retire have no income. The board’s top staff executive, the Rev. Randolph W. Nugent, approaches his counterpart at the Board of Pension and Health Benefits, Barbara Boigegrain. No one knows if The Book of Discipline has language to enable pensions outside the U.S.


Global Ministries submits report to 2000 General Conference, requesting Board of Pension and Health Benefits begin a “Global Pension Initiative,” subsequently renamed “Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI).”


Boigegrain and chief financial officer Gale Whitson-Schmidt explore international pension models and interview multinational corporations. While the United Nations has a “lump sum” model, Boigegrain and Whitson-Schmidt realize this would not meet United Methodist needs.


Top executives of Global Ministries, Pension and Health Benefits, United Methodist Communications, The United Methodist Publishing House and the General Council on Finance and Administration form a task force to provide policy guidance. Each contributes $50,000 (in cash or in kind) to support development of a sustainable pension-plan model.


Educational effort begins across central conferences to learn what retirees have and need.

  • The Rev. Paul Dirdak works with Boigegrain, traveling to Mozambique and Liberia.
  • The Rev. Larry Hollon of United Methodist Communications joins Boigegrain on fact-finding tours, documenting interviews and providing video stories of retired clergy in need.
  • UMCom develops CCPI website and designs CCPI logo; website moves to Board of Pension and Health Benefits in 2006.

A team led by Pension and Health Benefits takes fact-finding trips and conducts exploratory interviews in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Liberia and Russia. Global Ministries helps educate about needs in Africa. Challenge: Determine how plans would work in different countries; design a pension plan to meet immediate needs and be sustainable for the future.

Based on initial information gathering in 2006, Global Ministries works with Pension and Health Benefits on emergency grant program, paying $80 per year to retirees and surviving spouses in conferences where no pension exists. Pension and Health Benefits assumes that responsibility in 2008.


  • 2004: General Conference approves legislation to raise funds for CCPI to help pastors in central conferences retire from active ministry with dignity, hope and income.
  • 2005: The United Methodist Publishing House offers way for annual conferences to donate annual “Cokesbury Check” to CCPI.
  • 2006: Pension and Health Benefits staffs CCPI. Dan O’Neill, managing director, begins fundraising effort. Bishop Benjamin Chamness chairs fundraising committee with a $20 million goal by 2010. Estonia — first exploratory visit.
  • 2007: The United Methodist Church establishes first pension plan in Liberia and disburses payments. Philippines — first exploratory visit.
  • 2009: Pensions begin in Mozambique. Donations come from annual conferences, bishops’ initiatives and individual United Methodist contributions.
  • 2010: The United Methodist Church achieves $20 million goal and raises amount to $25 million challenge goal as data is gathered.


  • The United Methodist Church achieves $25 million challenge goal during one of the worst economic times in memory.
  • A donation of more than $200,000 from Discipleship Ministries (Board of Discipleship) helps achieve challenge goal.
  • Pensions begin in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the last country to need a pension plan. DRC represents 19 percent of the worldwide United Methodist Church, with 2.5 million members. 


  • CCPI achieves goal. Pension plans exist in all central conferences that need them.
  • A pension plan covers all United Methodist clergy and surviving spouses, no matter where in the world they serve.

Today, fundraising for the former CCPI has ended, although pledges continue to be received and paid. The related administrative and investment-management work is simply called “Central Conference Pension.”

Sign up for our newsletter!


Latest News

Daily Digest - April 17, 2019

Centrists, progressives to discuss church's future; Creative spirit lifts Philippines' churches; Bishops discuss GC2019 at BMCR
General Church
The Rev. Jasmine Smothers, lead pastor of Atlanta First United Methodist Church, has been among the conveners of recent meetings by centrists and progressives to discuss the denomination's future. Photo by Les Scarbrough, Atlanta First United Methodist Church.

Centrists, progressives to discuss church's future

Unhappiness with General Conference 2019 prompts plan for big meeting, with dissolution and ‘gracious exit’ among the options.
General Church
A United Methodist deaf choir signs the words of a hymn during worship in the Baguio Area in northern Philippines. Across the country, an assessment team saw evidence of church vitality. Photo courtesy of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters.

Creative spirit lifts Philippines’ churches

A United Methodist team looked at whether the Philippines should have more bishops. The group’s report highlighted church strengths and needs.