As you have heard repeatedly, many within our extended church family in the southeastern United States have been impacted by the massive string of tornadoes that swept through our area last week. We have churches and parsonages that have been destroyed, but many of our faithful members have also lost everything.
The staff of the Benefits Board and the Church Loan Fund took cover from the storms last Wednesday as they swept through the Cleveland area, with none of us suffering more than a few trees blown down. Since early Thursday morning, our staff has been assisting those who suffered damages. From expediting member loans and hardship withdrawals to physically helping remove debris, the staff has responded to the needs of our community.
Our participants need to be aware that a natural disaster is considered a “distributable event,” meaning that a participant in the Ministers’ Retirement Plan can access funds in their account as a hardship withdrawal. While early withdrawal penalties and taxes will be assessed, the Internal Revenue Service does allow you to access the funds in your account if you need them due to the natural disaster.
Further, our staff will work with any participant impact by the disaster to expedite consideration of their member loan request. Simply inform the loan officer at the Benefits Board that your member loan need is a result of the disaster and we will move your request to the forefront for immediate consideration.
If you would like to give monetarily to the tornado relief project, you may contribute directly through Church of God USA Missions (Support Number 765-0047). If you would like to volunteer in the tornado assistance effort, the Church of God Men and Women of Action are coordinating that effort. To learn more about how you can help, please visit the Church of God web site at www.churchofgod.org.