In November 2017, upon the request of the Synodical Council, President Mark Schroeder appointed an ad hoc committee to review the retirement program for WELS workers and to explore options to improve it.
WELS established a pension plan during the 1960s. The plan covers all called workers and is funded by individual calling bodies. During the past 25 years, a majority of pension plans offered by corporations and non-profit organizations in the United States have been replaced by 401K and 403B retirement plans. These changes in retirement programs reflect the changing needs of both organizations and their workers.
During fall 2017, the Synodical Council, with the encouragement of the Conference of Presidents, decided to form an ad hoc committee to study future options and to make a recommendation regarding the best way to provide retirement benefits for our called workers. That ad hoc committee was appointed in November; it includes representatives from the Synodical Council, the Conference of Presidents, the Retirement Commission, and President Mark Schroeder, along with advisory members.
The group started its work shortly after it was formed and met in early January. The committee’s assignment is to develop an informed recommendation on the future retirement program that most effectively serves the synod and its workers. The retirement program includes workers from our churches, schools, affiliated organizations, and the corporate synod.
“The objective of the committee’s work is not to reduce or increase the overall dollars spent on worker retirement programs,” says Mr. Paul Holzhueter, chairman of the Retirement Strategy Committee, “but to determine the most effective way for those dollars to be used in today’s world. Options for future retirement programs will be evaluated from both the workers’ position and from the synod’s position.”
Holzhueter also notes that future updates will be provided when there is additional information to be shared.