“For when one member of the body suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.” (1 Cor. 12:26)
Persons often ask how they can help when death comes to a pastor in the North Carolina Annual Conference. This question was asked in 1937, as concerned colleagues in ministry saw the dire straits in which clergy families found themselves when the pastor (often a husband and father as well) passed away. To provide some financial assistance to the family of the deceased, The Brotherhood was formed. Later the name was changed to The Brotherhood/Sisterhood to indicate the inclusiveness of the benevolent organization. Today it is known as Partners in Caring (“Partners” or PIC).
Partners in Caring is a benevolent organization in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Over the years nearly 500 families have been blessed through this ministry. The success of this program so far has been due to the faithful clergy and lay members who have given graciously and consistently to provide financial assistance at a time of real need. Partners in Caring also receives support from local churches.
Although PIC provides a cash gift to families during a very difficult time, PIC is not a traditional insurance program. Nor is it an official program of the Annual Conference. Rather we are a financially self-sustaining community of faith saying “we care and we want to help those with whom we are connectionally bound.” Partners is a tangible way of acting out of our connectedness. For some, membership in PIC has been experienced as a spiritual discipline of repeated call-and-response that is both incarnational and sacramental.
The bereavement gift that is offered to a PIC beneficiary family is $7,000 (effective 7/1/2018). One half of this sum, $3,500 is paid by PIC immediately upon notification of a member’s death, and $3,500 is paid six weeks later. The family may use these funds for any purpose they see fit. The amount of the distribution is reviewed annually based on the total number of member participants. Upon the death of clergy members of PIC, a notice is mailed to all members, both clergy and lay. Member clergy are required to contribute $20 per call (effective 7/1/2012), laypersons pay any amount of their choosing per call. There is a non-guaranteed average of 6 to 8 calls a year.
Membership in PIC is open to all pastors under an appointment under the age of 60. The initial enrollment fee is $20 (effective 7/1/2012). We hope that every pastor in the North Carolina Annual Conference will want to respond to this ministry of compassion and connection. It doesn’t matter where you are serving, where you went to school, how tall your church’s steeple is, or how long you have labored in the vineyard of the Lord. What matters is your desire to be a conduit of blessing for the families of clergy brothers and sisters in their time of need.
If you are interested in becoming a member of Partners in Caring, join today.
–Partners in Caring Board of Trustees