Living the Call to Connect

As a lifelong advocate of the connectional nature of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Rev. Ben Franklin Whitfield never expected that this denominational doctrine would one day prove indispensable to him at his own time of greatest need.

Ben, honorably retired since 2007 in the Presbytery of Wabash Valley, suffered a stroke in January 2021. After a hospital stay followed by a period of rehabilitation, he was released into the care of his loving wife, Helen, and allowed to return home.

Facing financial hardships after a lifetime in ministry serving primarily rural congregations with limited budgets, the Whitfields received support from the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions, part of our Presbyterian connectional system. The Assistance Program provides need-based grants to help active and retired plan members and their families in times of financial crisis. The Whitfields received immediate help from an Emergency Assistance grant and long-term help from a monthly Housing Supplement for Retirees receiving Home Health Care.

The support the Whitfields receive is made possible, in part, by the Christmas Joy Offering, a Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s.