Roland Matthews, Senior Pastor at Draper’s Valley Presbyterian Church in western Virginia, had never heard of the Relief Fund until 2009 when he was reviewing line items in the church’s annual budget.
He began to learn more about the fund and its origins: in 1973, pastors who decided to join the newly formed Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and leave their former denomination also had to leave behind their pensions. For this reason, the PCA’s founding fathers created the Ministerial Relief Fund to care for the current and future needs of pastors and their widows.
Today, a significant number of retired ministers and their spouses face financial difficulties. Their ministry positions limited their earning potential which resulted in limited savings. Ordinary expenses like groceries, housing expenses, and medical bills threaten to exhaust the modest funds they possess.
“As I learned more about the fund, I instantly knew that giving to this cause was not only a noble use of our material goods, but a tangible way to express our gratitude, affection, and support for those who have poured themselves out for the cause of Christ,” Roland said.
Over the past 50 years, the Relief Fund has given $12 million to PCA pastors, widows, and ministry workers in need. As of today, over 900 PCA churches have donated to the Relief Fund through a special Look After offering.
“[Giving to the Relief Fund] deepens our sense of connection with the wider church and underlines our responsibility to care for one another in the bonds of Christ.”
“The Relief Fund is a work of Gospel grace and Gospel mercy,” Roland continued. “It’s an expression of Christ’s love through Christ’s people for Christ’s people. Participating in a work such as this can only be of benefit to a congregation’s life, for it deepens our sense of connection with the wider church and underlines our responsibility to care for one another in the bonds of Christ. In this sense, the fund gives expression to the communion of the saints in a remarkably practical way.”
Roland concluded by strongly encouraging other churches to support the Relief Fund.
“It is a privilege to stand alongside our brothers and their families to provide them with material support, in order to help bear the financial burdens that they face. Draper’s Valley Presbyterian plans to continue giving to this cause. We heartily encourage our sister churches to do the same.”
How Your Church Can Support the Relief Fund
It’s never been easier for your church to support this vitally important ministry. Here’s how to take up a special offering to benefit the Relief Fund:
- Choose a Sunday or a season to collect a special offering.
- Order one of our free Church Toolkits, which includes:
- Bulletin Inserts
- Digital Materials
- Announce a special offering in advance and invite the church to pray for pastors, widows, and ministry workers in need.
- Collect a special offering using our church toolkit and share materials with the congregation.
To learn more and explore other ways your church can support the Relief Fund, visit genevabenefits.org/relief-fund/get-involved.
Geneva Benefits Group serves those who serve others, providing practical support for the financial, physical, and mental wellbeing of people who work in full-time ministry.