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2009 General Convention Resolutions on Lay Employee Benefits - September 29, 2009 Communiqué

The Rev. Daniel R. Heischman, D.D.
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Last Updated: Jul 23, 2019, 16:16 PM
Date Posted: Jul 23, 2019, 16:16 PM
As part of our effort to keep you as fully informed as we possibly can on the developments surrounding the recent General Convention resolutions regarding mandatory lay pension plans and medical coverage, I want to share with you the results of our recent conversation on the above matters at the autumn meeting of the NAES Governing Board, September 17-18, 2009.

The Governing Board spent considerable time discussing the wide-ranging implications of these resolutions for so many of our schools, as well as heard from me on the nature and tone of the feedback I have received from so many of you. The two most frequent questions asked of me, as a result of the initial letter I sent, have been: 1) will my school fall under the umbrella of compliance?, and 2) when will we know this information? Unfortunately, there is no clear word from the Church Pension Fund or Medical Trust, nor is there a common mind among  bishops or diocesan officials regarding possible answers to these two important questions. Much still needs to be determined and delineated.

Accordingly, the NAES Governing Board has established a task force whose responsibility it is to report, by the spring of 2010, to the Governing Board and the wider NAES membership. Its charge is five-fold:

  • To provide the fullest possible information to our schools, the Church Pension Fund and Medical Trust, and bishops or diocesan officials on the implications of these resolutions for our schools;
  • To press for a clear and timely explanation of these implications, particularly as they may or may not have an impact on the various governance models among our member schools (ie., parish day schools that are separately or not separately incorporated, diocesan schools, schools in dioceses where there is a strong common identity);
  • To share the results and interpretations of the surveys that NAES will undertake with our member schools, particularly the anticipated budget implications;
  • To further the conversation that needs to take place among the various parties that will be involved in helping to shape the fuller picture so needed;
  • To recommend any subsequent steps that NAES should take in the months and years ahead.
In approaching these important undertakings, the NAES Governing Board does not take issue with the principles of justice and equity that underlie the Church’s intent with the passing of these resolutions. At the same time, it is deeply concerned about the timing and scheduling of these resolutions, not to mention the enormous financial burdens that these new requirements may place upon many of our schools. Through the information that we plan to gather, the collective voice of our Episcopal schools will hopefully be heard.

Very soon you will be receiving a series of questions from NAES on the possible financial adjustments that would need to be made in our respective budgets for such initiatives to become reality in 2012. We intend to make these questions as simple and concise as possible. To present the most coherent and credible case for our schools, we urge you to help us by taking the time to complete this survey.

The members of the task force are as follows:

  • Connie Wootton, Executive Director, Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools, NAES Governing Board Member and Chair of the Task Force
  • The Rt. Rev. Thomas Breidenthal, Bishop of Southern Ohio, NAES Governing Board Member
  • Patrick Dickens, Head of School, Ascension Episcopal School, Lafayette LA, NAES Board Treasurer
  • Catherine Ford, Head of School, Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, Melbourne FL, NAES Governing Board Member
  • Serena Beeks, Executive Director, Commission on Schools in the Diocese of Los Angeles
  • The Rev. Preston Hannibal, Canon for Academic Ministries, Diocese of Washington (DC)
  • The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels, Rector, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Day School, Kansas City, MO
Please know that we are ready to hear from all of you, be it your initial reactions to the news or the feedback you feel this task force needs to be mindful of as it begins its work. The many conversations I have had with all of you over the past two weeks have been extremely helpful, and I hope to hear from many more of you in the upcoming months.

I sincerely hope that we will be able to provide you with clearer information in the upcoming months, and please be assured we will be in touch with you whenever we have further developments.

Should your school have a parish attached to it, I would urge you to share this information with the rector of the parish.

Again, thank you very much for your support.