The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Feeling it

ELCA retirees cope with pension losses

A perfect storm not uncommon in today's recession — low savings, battered investments and a house with a property value that is under water — had already impacted pastor's widow Joyce Mehan when she received a letter notifying her that her already small ELCA pension was being cut.

"The pension [cut as of Jan. 1, 2010] was really a blow because it's my main source of income," said Mehan, 68, of Hudson, Fla.

Mehan is still reeling from the death of her husband, James. For 31 years, the former pastor/developer served congregations in Michigan and Indiana. An inheritance allowed them to move to Florida, where the climate was better for his health. The family then depended on disability payments from the ELCA Board of Pensions from 1997 until 2003, when her husband died in his sleep at home at age 64.

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