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Hawkins urges messengers to help annuitants in need

ATLANTA (BP)–Annuity Board President O.S. Hawkins challenged Southern Baptist churches in his June 16 report to adopt an annuitant in need, while challenging ministers to take responsibility for themselves and their families with adequate retirement and insurance planning.
On June 27, Hawkins said the Southern Baptist Convention will observe the first Adopt an Annuitant Sunday. Churches and individuals will be asked to contribute $900 a year so that one aged minister or widow can receive a $75 supplement each month.
“There are almost 10,000 ministers and their widows who receive less than $200 a month from their retirement benefits,” Hawkins said. “These are beautiful people in need, and I am calling on you to respond to their needs and adopt them.”
Hawkins also challenged messengers to prepare for the future and heed the words from Solomon in Proverbs 6 when he said to “go to the ant and consider its way and be wise.”
“Be wise and prepare for the years ahead,” Hawkins counseled. “Get enrolled in our retirement program and participate in our insurance program. We are here to serve you.
“Most of you are probably like I was when I was a pastor,” Hawkins said. “You think you will only need the Annuity Board when you are 65, but I want to change the way you look at us. I want you to see the Annuity Board as your life partner.
“We want to stand with you and serve you during the spring, summer, fall and winter of your ministry,” he said. “We want to help you make the right choices so that when you retire you can do so with dignity while you continue to serve Christ in your later years.”
Hawkins reported that 1998 was a good year at the 81-year-old Annuity Board, which closed the year with $7.09 billion in total assets and gave a 10 percent permanent increase in benefits to most annuitants.
Hawkins also assured the messengers that the Annuity Board is on schedule to complete its “Y2K” planning and is ready to face the future.
He expressed thanks for the $1 million received from the Cooperative Program in 1998 and said “every cent was spent helping annuitants in need.”
A new program being launched this year is the “Widow’s Mite” prayer ministry, Hawkins told messengers. “We are going to mobilize thousands of widows across the nation to pray for our missionaries and our nation. This will be a mighty prayer force for Southern Baptists,” he said.

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  • Jerilynn Armstrong