Missions, small churches offered pastors' retirement account funds

DALLAS (BP)-- The Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is seeking to help young or struggling churches get their ministers started in the Church Annuity Plan, through its Wyndolyn Royster Hollifield Mission/Church Assistance Fund.

Through the Hollifield endowment, missions congregations and other small churches can apply for up to $1,500 for the retirement accounts of eligible ministers over a five-year period.

The special fund was established in 1992 in a planned gift by Hughy and Wyndolyn Hollifield of Winston-Salem, N.C. Hollifield died in April 1996.

The fund will provide a 5 percent match ($500) in the first year based on the first $10,000 of a pastor's salary if the church or pastor will contribute 1 percent ($100). The next year, the church pays 2 percent into the pastor's retirement account and the MCAF puts in 4 percent. The ratio continues to switch 1 percent each year until the fifth year when the church pays 5 percent and the fund pays 1 percent. After five years, the church and minister are encouraged to continue and even increase their contributions to provide an adequate retirement income for the pastor.

In addition to the Annuity Board contributions, eligible participants become eligible for state convention matching contributions that can provide a supplemental disability benefit up to $400 per month, survivor protection benefit up to $100,000 and matching contributions to their retirement account up to $17.50 per month.

Requirements for eligibility include an annual church budget under $40,000, a taxable salary for the pastor and that the mission or church be recognized by the state convention.

The Annuity Board's marketing division began an aggressive promotion of the assistance program last fall, and in February participation was 241 missions and churches, up 85 percent compared to the 111 in same month of 1997.

Interested people may contact their state annuity representative or call 1-800-262-0511 and ask for an application form.

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