By Rick Wolcott*
Since 1994 Betsy Stewart has walked beside both the clergy who shepherd our East Ohio Conference congregations and faith communities and the Conference staff who equip and support them. As Benefits Manager she has been the liaison between benefit carriers and the Conference as the plan sponsor. She’s worked with the EOC Board of Benefits to coordinate plan document language, Conference policies, and participant eligibility, and then assisted pastors and church leadership to get answers to their questions and to create implementation processes.
“It has been inspiring to me to witness the dedication Betsy has to serving our clergy, laity and staff at the Conference office. Her care and dedication are evident in everything she does. She has a heart for service and puts the needs of others at the forefront in searching for solutions to very vexing issues,” said Vera Rebrovich, director of Financial and Administrative Services.
Stewart played a vital role researching options and guiding the Board’s work as it proposed to Annual Conference 2017 shifting from being a self-insured health care plan to utilizing a traditional fully insured benefit plan through HealthFlex. Annual Conference approved the motion and the plan went into effect in 2018.
“Betsy Stewart has been a real blessing to our Conference. She has helped walk us through some of the hardest days of life when our health fails us,” stated Board of Benefits chair the Rev. Bill Liming. “When my son had to have a surgery to repair his arm following a bad accident, Betsy patiently helped me navigate our health care plan to ensure my little boy had the best of care. There are countless others across our Conference throughout her 26 years of service who could give testimony to all of the help Betsy has given.”
Stewart greatly appreciates the relationships she has built across the Conference and the many ways that she has been able to assist and serve with others.
“I have always felt I was blessed to be in my position at East Ohio, and for many reasons; personally, professionally and spiritually. For those who I have served, especially for persons during life’s events, I tried to be a helpful resource, to the best of my ability,” Stewart said.
“Betsy helped us dream about future plans beyond active service and then helped us transition in retirement to live out those dreams.” Liming added. “For her sense of humor and collegiality and her great breadth of knowledge, I give thanks. Through Betsy Stewart, the East Ohio Conference has been well served.”
“I will miss the ongoing relationships of our pastors and their families, the laity of our churches and districts, but most importantly my favorites; our retirees, their spouses and surviving spouses.” Stewart shared.
“Betsy has poured her heart into her work of educating clergy and laity on health and pension benefits. She has given exemplary service to the East Ohio Conference and I celebrate her leadership and wish her the best as she retires,” said Bishop Tracy S. Malone.
When asked about her plans for retirement, Stewart offered a list of activities she looks forward to undertaking.
“I plan to smile a lot, breathe deeply, enjoy family time as much as possible, catch up with friends, read, garden, paint, and travel,” she said, before adding, “that’s the first month!”
Well done good and faithful servant. Enjoy retirement.
An East Ohio Conference team comprised of the executive directors, members of the Conference Board of Benefits, and members of the Conference Personnel Committee is working with a search team from the General Council on Finance and Administration to hire Betsy’s successor.
* Rick Wolcott is director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.