From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutheran Retirement Fund Continues to Benefit Needy

Date Fri, 8 Aug 2003 12:56:56 -0500


August 8, 2003

Lutheran Retirement Fund Continues to Benefit Needy

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Ten years after its inception, the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Special Needs
Retirement Fund (SNRF) is still working to support retired
clergy, professional church workers and surviving spouses with
financial need.
     The SNRF supplements the income of retired pastors and
others who are living below the poverty level.	This occurred
primarily because salaries given during working years were low
with consequently low pension investment, and because of late
participation in predecessor church pension plans.
     Currently, there are 48 people receiving the pension
supplement, with an average aid of $208 per month.  Those
receiving supplements from the SNRF also have their medical
insurance premiums with the ELCA Medicare supplement plan paid.
     This fiscal year, running July 1, 2003, through June 30,
2004, the SNRF will give $122,063 in pension increases and
medical insurance premium costs, said Polly Bergerson, program
coordinator, ELCA board of Pensions, Minneapolis, Minn.
     Bergerson said there is an application process for those who
are interested in receiving help from the SNRF.  The basic
criteria are limited assets, limited house value and a total
monthly income under $1000 for a single person and under $1250
for a couple, she said.
     The fund is still in the growing process, Bergerson said.
The fund, established in 1993 by the ELCA Church Council, began
to solicit contributions and was able to begin making pension-
supplement payments when the fund reached $450,000 in 1997.
     People contribute to the SNRF in a variety of ways,
including responding to mail solicitation, direct contributions
by pension recipients, and through non-specified giving.  "We
have congregations and individuals who give one-time donations,
or on a yearly basis," Bergerson said.
     She said the growth of the fund would allow for more
individuals to receive supplemental pension income.  She said
that as the fund continues to grow, the monthly minimum income
levels can rise so that the fund can provide pension increases to
additional pensioners.
     "The need is still out there," Bergerson said.

* Jessica A. Crane is completing her bachelor of arts degree at
Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.  This summer she is an intern
with ELCA News and Media Production.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home