From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Pension board honors two for church benefits work

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Wed, 22 Jan 2003 14:43:10 -0600

Jan. 22, 2003  News media contact: Tim Tanton7(615)742-54707Nashville, Tenn. 

By United Methodist News Service

The United Methodist pension and benefits agency has recognized two people
for their work in caring for the benefits needs of church employees.

Karen J. Crutchfield of New Mexico has been named the 2002 Charles L. Calkins
Award winner, and Harry Piper of Michigan has been named recipient of the
Clay F. Lee Award. The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits,
with offices in Evanston, Ill., presents the awards each year.

Established in 1988, the Calkins Award recognizes an annual conference
pension and health benefit administrator who has provided exceptional service
in administering pension and health benefits within the United Methodist

Crutchfield served on the New Mexico Annual Conference Board of Pensions from
1984 to 2000. She became the vice chairperson in 1988 and the chairperson in
1990. She worked successfully for the merger of the conference board of
pensions with the conference insurance commission, and she returned in 2001
to serve as chairperson of the newly constituted conference board of pensions
and health benefits. 

A longtime advocate for pension and health insurance issues, she was
instrumental in helping the New Mexico Conference fund, in full, its pre-1982
pension liabilities. She worked for consistent increases in the conference's
annuity rate, and she raised the conference's awareness of the importance of
funding retiree medical expenses.

"To me, Karen has been most impressive in creating and nurturing her own
board members and keeping them informed on important benefit issues," said
Woody Bedell, chief strategic relations officer of the churchwide board in
Evanston. "Because of Karen, the New Mexico Board of Pensions and Health
Benefits is one of the most informed and dedicated boards throughout the
entire church."

The Clay F. Lee Award, established in 1999, recognizes former directors of
the Board of Pension and Health Benefits for exemplary service. 

Piper, of the Detroit Annual Conference, served as a full member of the board
from 1988 to 1996 and continued until 2000 as an at-large member of the
board's Asset/Liability Committee. During his tenure, he served on a variety
of committees, including the Investment Committee, the Disability Committee,
the Rules and Regulations Committee and the Subcommittee on Actuarial

In announcing the award, the general board noted that Piper held the agency
to the highest business standards, was sensitive to the needs and the
concerns of the entire denomination and always kept the details of pension
and benefit work in view. 

Barbara A. Boigegrain, top staff executive, praised Piper's "capacity to
balance strategy and detail."

"He is an informed visionary, yet he never forgets about the details," she
said. "He has a passion for serving the participant, yet he also has unique
clarity about our fiduciary responsibility. He is dedicated to the Social
Principles that drive our investing. And he understands the need for us to be
a bellwether for the church - to think about the future, learn together and
communicate clearly."
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United Methodist News Service
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