Deputies’ Perspectives: Serving God Through Good Stewardship

Dr. Sandra Michael is a Deputy to the 79th General Convention and a member of Trinity Memorial Church in Binghamton. She reports here on the socially responsible investment strategies of the Church Pension Group. 

See all reflections from CNY’s General Convention deputation at

For the past several General Conventions, it has been my privilege to serve on the Church Pension Fund (CPF) Legislative Committee, variously as regular member, secretary and vice chair. At the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church I serve as CPF’s Legislative Aide.

Insights & Ideas

Last year the CPF celebrated a century of service and benefits for The Episcopal Church. Over the past year the CPF has hosted a series of events called Insights & Ideas around The Episcopal Church to engage in conversations on topics of interest to the Church. They hosted two such luncheon events in Austin. (Highlights from previous conversations hosted around the Church are available on CPF’s website.)

  • The topic of the first luncheon was The Demographics of a Changing Church. Following presentations by experts, Ms. Mary Kate Wold, CEO and President of the Church Pension Group, moderated the conversation on demographics, deployment and compensation. Presenters were Dr. Jerry Park, Associate Professor of Sociology and Affiliate Fellow at the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion; and Dr. Mathew Price, Senior Vice President for Research & Data at the Church Pension Group.
  • The second event was Investing for Positive Impact. Presenters were Mr. Dave Chen, Principal and Chairman of Equilibrium; and The Rev. Kirsten Snow Spalding, Senior Director of Ceres Investor Network. Following the presentations, conversations focused on ways to achieve measurable social and environmental impact alongside competitive financial returns.

Impact Investing

The New York-based Church Pension Fund has been involved in impact investing for nearly twenty years. In 2000, CPF’s board encouraged it to look at investing in women- or minority-owned funds. Today $1 billion has been committed to impact investments. CPF now invests across three themes:

  • Environmentally responsible investments (sustainable forestry, clean technology and green buildings);
  • Economically targeted investments (microfinance-related initiatives, affordable housing, sustainable farming and urban redevelopment);
  • Women- and minority-owned firms.

As of 2018 The Episcopal Church has:

  • made socially responsible investments in 25 countries;
  • created or preserved 54,000 affordable housing units;
  • funded 100 clean technology projects;
  • invested in 65 certified clean buildings.

The Church Pension Fund plans to continue encouraging companies in its investment portfolio to address issues related to the environment, human rights violations, and diversity of corporate boards.

Looking Ahead

At this 79th General Convention, partnership with the CPF will continue as General Convention elects CPF trustees and acts upon legislation to inform its strategic priorities and directives. Toward this end, the CPF Legislative Committee is currently developing resolutions for expanding:

  • paid family leave;
  • Medical Trust provider options;
  • pension equity for lay employees.

Long hours and hard work go into serving on a legislative committee—but it is a very fulfilling way to participate.

image above: The Rev. Kirsten Snow Spalding, Senior Director of Ceres Investor Network, speaks on Investing for Positive Impact at a luncheon hosted by the Church Pension Group July 6th.  Ms. Mary Kate Wold, CEO and President of the Church Pension Group, and Mr. Dave Chen, Principal and Chairman of Equilibrium, also participated in the panel.

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Two women stand, ready to assist prayerful conventioners