Welcome to The Corporation for Relief of the Widows and Children of the Clergy for the Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland

Our members receive a broad range of benefits all designed to benefit spouses, partners and dependent children.

annual meeting 2022

Join

To join The Corporation, please download the application, print your responses and mail it to our mailing address:

The Corporation
4 E. University Parkway
Baltimore, MD 21218

Vested membership is granted after five years of continued canonical residence in any of the three dioceses, and may be continued if one moves to another diocese. Members who establish canonical residence in another diocese before five years are ineligible to remain members.

If your beneficiary is not a spouse, you will need to obtain approval from the Board of Managers. The Corporation is governed by a nine-member Board of Managers who are elected at the annual spring meeting.

Download Application

Information Brochure

Benefits

The Corporation has been serving clergy and survivors since 1784. Our assets currently total over $40 million to benefit clergy and their spouses and children. Our investments and your membership go towards the benefits below:

  • Need-based gratuities granted for emergency expenses and living expenses
  • Annuity to beneficiaries (spouses and partners) of $1,500 annually
  • A $10,000 death benefit to assist with covering final expenses
  • Complimentary dinner for the named member at the annual spring meeting and discounted tickets for dinner guests

Update Information

This is where you can update your and your beneficiary’s contact information.
Don’t feel like you have to fill the whole form out if you only have a few things to change/update.

Board & Staff

The Diocese of Easton

The Rev. Kevin Cross • Bio
The Rev. Charles Osberger • Bio
The Rev. Darcy Williams • Bio

The Diocese of Maryland

The Rev. Lisa Bornt • Bio
The Rev. Joe Hart • Bio
The Rev. Derek Miller • Bio

The Diocese of Washington

The Rev. Meredith Tobin Heffner • Bio
The Rev. Glenna Huber • Bio
The Rev. David Wacaster • Bio

Staff

The Rev. M. Joanna White, Executive Director
The Rev. Jan Hamill, Chaplain
Nancy Smith, Financial Secretary
Rachel Erdman, Administrative Assistant

Officers

The Rev. Charles Osberger, President
The Rev. David Wacaster, Vice President
The Rev. Derek Miller, Secretary/Treasurer

Pay Online

To pay your annual dues, back dues or other fees, please use the payment portal linked below
to pay conveniently and securely with your credit card or checking account.

History

Access Our Bylaws

To access our bylaws, please click here

Access Our Charter

To access our charter, please click here

From the Archives

To access this article, please click here

End-of-Year Messages

To access this message, please click here

Frequently Asked Questions

Members

Q: Who can become a member?
A: Any ordained minister – Episcopal or non-Episcopal clergy authorized by a bishop – serving an Episcopal congregation or organization in one of the three Corporation dioceses: Maryland, Washington, or Easton. (Episcopal clergy must be canonically resident in one of the three dioceses.)
Q: How do I sign up?

A: You need to fill out the Member Information/Beneficiary Designation form, which you can find online or request from our office. You will also need to pay your first year’s dues ($50), either from the payment portal on our website or by check. 

Q: Why do you need Social Security numbers?
A: To disburse benefits, IRS regulations require we have Social Security numbers from the member and beneficiary; to facilitate a speedy process (and to avoid having to intrude on the beneficiary when they are grieving), it is best to have this information ahead of time.
Q: What does it mean my membership is "backdated" to the last Annual Meeting?
A: The Corporation counts years of membership from each Annual Meeting (first Wednesday in May), rather than by calendar year. Thus, even if you join in January of 2020, your technical membership is backdated to the previous Annual Meeting, which would be May 2019. This means that after paying your initial dues of $50, you would need to pay another $50 for 2020 dues before the Annual Meeting in May.  
Q: Why can't I pay my dues all at once?
A: The Corporation was established to serve the beneficiaries of Episcopal clergy in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. To ensure that members have sufficient stake in the dioceses of Maryland, Easton, or Washington, DC, we require that they have five years of canonical residence and dues payments before they are “vested.” After that, they may go to a non-Corporation diocese and still retain membership; they may also pay the remaining balance of their dues, either online or by check.
Q: What happens if I miss a payment?
A: The Corporation staff do our best to send out reminders of dues owed when we send out the information for the Annual Meeting. Still, we understand sometimes people forget. As soon as you realize that you are behind in payments, please catch up online or with by check. If you’re not sure about the status of your dues, please contact us by phone or email. We cannot guarantee benefits if you are not up to date on payments.
Q: Can I get my dues back if I leave a Corporation diocese before I'm vested?

A: No. According to our bylaws, Article V, Sections 5 & 6: “Any member may resign at any time and shall thereby forfeit any and all benefits provided by the Corporation…A member who leaves having been a member less than five (5) full years shall be considered to have resigned.”

Q: What if I pass away before I finish paying dues? Will my beneficiary receive anything?

A: Yes. If you die before paying the entire $750 in dues, your beneficiary is still eligible for all annuities, gratuities, and the death benefit. If you die and are not yet vested, but still canonically resident in one of the Corporation dioceses, your beneficiary still receives benefits upon your death.

Q: What if I become permanently mentally or physically incapacitated? Does my beneficiary need to wait until I die to ask for help from The Corporation?

A: Under the bylaw change passed at the 2022 Annual Meeting, designated beneficiaries may apply for gratuities if the member has become incapacitated, for instance if they are suffering from advancing Alzheimer disease. According to the bylaws, the definition of “incapacitated” is “the long-term and presumably permanent lack of sufficient physical or mental ability to manage one’s personal care, property, or finances. In its discretion, the Board of Managers may require evidence of incapacity in the form of a written statement from the member’s physician.”

Please note, this only applies to gratuity requests. The beneficiary will not receive the death benefit or an annuity until the death of the member.

Q: Who counts as a beneficiary?

A: Please consult this handy flowchart to determine who can be your beneficiary

Q: What if I get divorced? Who becomes my beneficiary?

A: As long as the divorce decree does not prevent it, a member who gets divorced may change beneficiaries to the new spouse even though first spouse survives. You will need to submit a new Beneficiary Designation Form to make the change.

Q: What is a "next-of-kin benefit"?

A: In the event that you do not have a beneficiary, you may still designate someone to receive a one-time death benefit of $10,000 to cover burial or other end-of-life expenses. This person must be next-of-kin, and will not be considered a beneficiary, nor will they receive a gratuity or annuity. According to the bylaws, article 5, section 7 (amended 2020): 

The order of precedence for determining a member’s next of kin shall be as follows: independent adult children, parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins. If the member subsequently marries, enters into a domestic partnership, or has a dependent child, whether by birth or adoption, the member’s spouse and/or dependent child shall receive the death benefit[.]

Q: How do I update The Corporation with new contact or other information?

A: You can either email us, call us, or fill out the form in the ‘Update Information’ tabPlease let us know of any changes to your contact information (including email and cell). It is especially important to have emergency contact information. Remember, if we can’t get in touch with you, we won’t be able to keep you updated with information or disburse funds for your beneficiary when they are needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Beneficiaries

Q: What benefits do I receive when my spouse/partner/parent passes away?
A: If you are a primary beneficiary [VIEW INFOGRAPHIC], you will receive a $10,000 tax-free death benefit. After that, each January you will receive a taxable $1,500 annuity. You may also apply for regular and/or emergency gratuities. If you are a secondary beneficiary, you also receive the tax-free death benefit and can apply for gratuities but are not eligible for an annuity. Finally, if you are a secondary beneficiary because you are a minor child of the deceased, you do not receive a death benefit or annuity, but your parent or guardian can request gratuities on your behalf.
Q: What is a gratuity?

A: A gratuity is money given for demonstrated need, in order to cover emergency, medical, or other living expenses. There are two kinds of gratuities: Regular and Emergency.

Q: What is a regular gratuity? How do I apply for one?

A: Regular gratuities are funds you can apply for ahead of when they are needed—generally, regular gratuities are meant to cover shortfalls in your income and/or for large expenses you expect to pay in the year. 

The Board of Managers meets in March to review and approve regular gratuity requests, so applications should be in before then. When you receive your annuity check in January, there is a Confidential Financial Report (CFR) form you can fill out and send to us, along with your latest tax return (if applicable), and other paperwork documenting income and expected expenses. 

If the Board approves your gratuity request, you will receive a check for half the amount in March; At the October board meeting, regular gratuities are reviewed and updated; the second part of the awarded amount is sent after that meeting. 

Q: How do emergency gratuities work?
A: Emergency gratuities are funds you request for unforeseen expenses at the moment they are needed. To apply for an emergency gratuity, contact us by phone or email to begin the process. You will need to provide a receipt, invoice, or other documentation of the expense. While there is technically no limit to the amount of funds or number of times you can request, we do ask for proof of income (e.g., tax return) if your yearly request surpasses $2,000.
Q: What sorts of expenses do gratuities cover?

A: Beneficiaries of all ages have requested gratuities for such things as medical bills (prescriptions, procedures, dental work, etc.); household upkeep (flooring replacement, roofing, fumigation, appliances, etc.); and other needs (i.e., education for minor children up to undergraduate school, car repairs, assisted living, and pre-planning funeral expenses). If you are unsure whether your request “qualifies” for a gratuity, please contact us. 

Q: Can I decline the death benefit or annuity?

A: Yes. Please request a Declining Benefits form so that we have it on record. If you later change your mind, you may begin receiving benefits again by contacting us.

Q: What if I remarry?

A: Congratulations! You are still a beneficiary and eligible for annuities and to apply for gratuities. Please let us know, though—we want to share in your joy (and record your new emergency contact information)!

Q: What is the Chaplain’s role in The Corporation?

A: The Chaplain is our front-line in pastoral care for you, particularly when you first become a beneficiary after the loss of your loved one. Our current Chaplain is the Rev. Canon January E. Hamill; generally, she will be the one who offers initial condolences from The Corporation. She also sends booklets to help guide you through the grieving process and is available to be in contact with you by phone, mail, online, or (if possible) in person. The Rev. Hamill uses the annual prayer cycle (which lists each of our beneficiaries) to pray for you each week and sends note to check in when your name comes up. If you have a pastoral concern, please get in touch by calling the office or emailing chaplain@episcopalcorporation.org.

Q: How do I update my contact information?

A: Beneficiaries can also use the form under the ‘Update My Information’ tab on the website. You can also call or email us or send your updates by post. It is particularly important to give us your emergency contact information (including email and cell number).

Infographic

Contact us

To contact us, you can use any of the information below. We ask that all members email or call us if their contact information changes, or if they are in need of pastoral counsel or financial assistance. Please notify us immediately upon the death of a member or beneficiary and include information about the date, next of kin and any service details. Thank you for your membership with The Corporation for the Relief of the Widows and Children of the Clergy for the Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland.

Mailing Address

4 E. University Parkway
Baltimore, MD 21218

Get in Touch

(410) 467-1399, Ext. 1362
1-800-443-1399
admin@episcopalcorporation.org

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