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Five in UCC visit more than 140 annuity recipients

Just over a year ago, Ed Evans of Sequim, Gail Crouch of Seattle and Mimi Lane of Arlington agreed to take responsibility, on behalf of the UCC Pension Boards, for visiting people in Western Washington who receive UCC annuities.  Previously, David Nelson had covered all that area.

Bob Jackson
Bob Jackson

For three years, Bob Jackson, a former Presbyterian pastor who served Peshastin UCC from 1999 to 2005 before retiring, visits 20 Eastern Washington annuitants, traveling from his home in East Wenatchee. 

“Our goal is to let those on UCC annuities know that we remember them and are grateful for their years of service,” said Jackson, who also does supply preaching.

Dave Nelson
David Nelson

After he retired 15 years ago, Nelson—who served UCC churches in Cathlamet, University Place, Ferndale, Tonasket and Newport—visited retired clergy, their spouses, their widows and widowers.  He kept attuned to their needs, illnesses, surgeries, crises and tragedies.  He reported needs to the Pension Boards, which gives grants from the Christmas Fund. 

Ed Evans
Ed Evans

For 10 years, he made 20 calls on the East side and 80 on the West side each year.  Recently his assignment has been those in Horizon House.

In 2008 Doug Borko of the Pension Boards began reviewing assignments and the job demands.  He recruited deans in each region to keep in contact with the annuitant visitors.  Lynne Simcox, of Seattle became the western regional dean, responsible for more than 30 visitors, each of whom was to visit 30 to 50 annuitants.  Finding that Nelson had 125 on his list, she recruited Evans, Crouch and Lane.

Gail Crouc
Gail Crouch

Crouch, who served 15 years at University Congregational and three at Bellevue First after entering ministry as a second career, visits nearly 50 retired clergy or widows/ers from Seattle to Issaquah.

Lane, who lives in Arlington and attends First Congregational UCC in Everett, visits 28 retirees in Northwestern Washington and phones several in  Alaska.

Evans, who lives in Sequim, covers on the Olympic Peninsula, Gig Harbor, Olympia, Aberdeen and Tacoma.

Crouch enjoys visiting many who are friends and have served in ministry from 20 to 50 years.  She finds most of those in their 60s and 70s are doing well, but many who are older face health issues and struggle with the costs of prescriptions.

“I inform them of new programs, such as vision coverage that is one of the options in the health insurance programs offered by the Pension Boards,” she said clarifying that her visits are not pastoral visits but are made on behalf of the Pension Boards.  Most annuitants are in churches and have pastors to provide pastoral care.

“I enjoy hearing stories of those who have worked in ministry, especially those who were in mission fields,” she said.

In her retirement, like many of those she visits, Crouch has done pulpit supply and short-term interims.  Having taught the UCC polity class at the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, she also works with some students and teaches there on occasion.

Mimi Lane
Mimi Lane

Lane, anticipating difficulty traveling in the winter, visited the people who live on the islands of Northwest Washington, leaving those who live nearer to her for the winter.

Since retiring two years ago, she said she has been more active in the conference and serves on the Committee on Ministry, attends retreats and ministers’ meetings.

“It’s a nice assignment to tell people how much their work in ministry was appreciated,” said Lane, who was a hospital chaplain for 30 years.

Visits also give her a sense of the history of churches and ministers.  Sometimes she takes older women who have few chances to go out to a restaurant for lunch.  Also, by visiting in homes, she can spot economic or health concerns that may need attention.

Lane and Crouch said they have talked with clergy of other denominations and found that no others are doing visitation of annuitants.

“Older people feel cut off.  Our contact says we care and lets people know they can call us if they have questions or problems,” Lane said. 

In an interview five years ago, Nelson said an issue for many retired clergy is having to live on a limited income, because they served small churches and earned modest salaries.  Those who opted for variable plans were affected as the stock market declined in recent years.

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Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © February 2010


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