In April of this year, we learned the shocking news that pension payments to retired ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) were suspended in early March after officials discovered possible irregularities in the fund. The fund, valued at $126 million a year ago, has lost $90 million in value, and an investigation is underway. While this may be a financial scandal of epic proportions in a sister denomination, the human fallout is tragic – ministers who retired after years of faithful service to the church are not receiving their pension checks. Mortgage payments are going unpaid, medical bills are piling up, and money is not available for groceries and medication. I cannot imagine the anxiety this crisis has created in these families, especially in these inflationary times when the dollar is not buying as much as it once did.
Peachtree Road UMC is filled with compassionate people, and some have reached out to me asking if there is something we can do. Well, after helpful conversations with our partners in ministry (Rev. David Richards of New Hope AME here in Buckhead and Dr. Kevin Murriel of Cascade UMC), we are creating a fund that will enable some AME ministers in the Atlanta area who are in difficult financial circumstances to make application to have their mortgage, medical bill, or pharmacy bill paid out of the fund. This will be administrated by our friends in the AME church who can verify the need and make payment on behalf of the AME minister directly to the creditor.
Therefore, we will receive a one-time offering on Sunday, June 26, to provide funds for this support. Cascade UMC is our partner in this mission, and we hope together to be able to raise a total of $100,000. That Sunday is the day on which we celebrate freedom at Peachtree Road UMC, and I encourage you to help us pass the blessings we have experienced along to some retired ministers who are struggling.
Please make your check payable to Peachtree Road UMC and mark it for “AME Retirees” or give online here. Together, we can make a difference. I look forward to seeing you Sunday, June 26.
Grace and peace,