By: Raquel Pichardo
Rev. Tyler Sit, pastor at New City Church in Minneapolis, will be working in 2018 to help shape the way Wespath Benefits and Investments serves The United Methodist Church by participating in Wespath’s inaugural Young Leaders Advisory Board (Y-LAB).Wespath is the general agency of the UMC responsible for administering benefits and investing retirement plan assets.
“It is no secret that the denomination is shifting in some major ways in the near future, so I wanted to join Y-LAB to advocate for young adults within The UMC's financial systems,” said Sit. “My generation is saddled with tremendous debt and faces significant global challenges, and I want Wespath's financial practices to address that directly.”
Wespath created Y-LAB in 2017 to engage and better serve young adults dedicated to the Church. Members are partnering with Wespath to identify gaps in connecting with young clergy and lay employees, generate ideas that help improve Wespath’s products and services, and help shape how Wespath shares information.
In November, the group traveled to Pensacola, Florida to attend Wespath’s revitup! For a Lifetime in Ministry, an event for young clergy, where participants provided insights about how Wespath can enhance its outreach. This event also focused on giving 25- to 39-year-old clergy supplemental skills around personal and church financial management. Sit said “I was surprised that I hadn't heard about some of this stuff before! Estate planning, for example, is not always on the top of my mind, but there are certainly steps I could take now that would make my life easier down the road.”
The group also met at Wespath’s headquarters in Glenview, Illinois in September, where they interacted with Wespath employees, including General Secretary, Barbara Boigegrain.
Sit was glad to see that Wespath has made a solid effort to integrate social investing into clergy’s investment portfolios. “Our investments are a reflection of our values, so it was good to see Wespath seeking out opportunities to support creation, affordable housing, and opportunities for oppressed people. Of course, there is always room to grow, but I suppose Y-Lab exists in part to try to close that gap!”
“The discussion among the Y-LAB members has been lively and energetic, and their feedback has already proven valuable,” said Boigegrain. “We appreciate their willingness to help us better serve the Church, and look forward to hearing more from this engaging group of young UMC leaders!”
The 15 Y-LAB members are all aged 35 or younger, and represent both laity and clergy across the U.S. Y-LAB members were selected by Directors of Connectional Ministries in their UMC jurisdictions who viewed these individuals as young leaders within the Connection.
Sit encouraged anyone with feedback on Wespath services (especially young adults) to contact him. “I would be happy to pass on the word. I have found the staff at Wespath to be extremely receptive to our input.”
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church