Wednesday, 11 March 2015

..... and today was "magic" too.

Today saw me up at "Dayspring", the Camp and Conference Centre for the Episcopal Church Diocese of South West Florida.

I was there for the annual Diocesan event for retired clerics and their spouses, a gift to us from our local Bishop, Dabney Smith.

These events usually fill me with the expectation that I will be utterly bored.

This one was an exception.

In the morning the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.), the Most Revd. Frank Griswold, talked about his experience of life in retirement.

His talk was "over the top".  He drew from the wisdom of Holy Scripture, and from the wisdom of various church leaders through the centuries, to help us understand that retirement is not a cessation from work, but that it is indeed  a grand adventure in which we can grow and learn to grow closer to God in preparation for the gift of eternal life when we die.

I represent his words so poorly, but I got a renewed sense that retirement need not be a time of "shutting down", but that it can be a time of "opening up" to the grace we experience in God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In short, Bishop Griswold "fed our souls", for which I am entirely grateful.

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After a not-so-good lunch we gathered again to hear from staff members from the Church Pension Fund.

The CPF was created in 1917 with assets of $8.7  million.  Now it has assets of $11.6 billion.

This means that "Boy, oh Boy" : we retired Episcopal Church Clerics have some of the best benefits for retirees in the entire U.S.A.

We have generous pensions with annual COLA increases.

We have excellent  insurances (at a very low cost) to supplement the benefits under the U.S. Govt's programme for retirees (Medicare).

( For instance, I rarely have to pay any more than $15 for the various treatments I receive from my Primary Care Physician: from my Dermatologist; from my Dermatological surgeon, and  from my 
Gastroenterologist ).

We also have excellent Dentist/Orthodontist  benefits at a minimal  cost.

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All of this means that though I am far from being one of the wealthy 1%, I am fairly high on the list of the 99% so far as pension and retirement benefits are concerned.

It leads me to wonder why U.S.A. Corporations have not been as prudent as the Church Pension Fund.

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 I am so grateful for today's Diocese of South West Florida "Retired Clergy Day".  I thank our Bishop, the Rt. Revd. Dabney T Smith.



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