We are pleased to welcome George Graham to the CHHSM staff as vice president. I asked him to write a few words to introduce himself to you.
— Michael Readinger
Author Frederick Buechner writes, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
This month I joined the CHHSM staff as vice president, and I feel a sense of deep gladness to be working for an organization that supports its members in meeting many deep hungers, including the need for housing, health care, services for older adults, and support for children and families.
Besides feeling gladness, I feel extremely grateful to be working for an organization that I have admired for nearly two decades. I became aware of CHHSM when I worked in the UCC national offices from 2000 to 2007, first as editorial director for Pilgrim Press and then with the Financial Development Ministry Team as associate for leadership gifts. In my travels during my years working in the national offices, I had an opportunity to visit a good number of CHHSM agencies and always left feeling impressed at the work and ministry that was being done.
From 2007 until joining the CHHSM staff, I worked directly for local health and human services organizations, including Adoption Network Cleveland and Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals in Cleveland. During those years, I gained not only experience but also appreciation for the joys and challenges of providing direct services. At the same time I experienced personally what it is like to be a family member receiving care, as my children received support through their early years and my parents made their journey through their final years — first in independent living, then in assisted living, skilled nursing, and finally hospice care.
I hope that I can bring all of these experiences — both professional and personal — and combine them in a new way in order to support you in your work.
I am glad to be back in the national offices of the UCC, not just because the place is familiar, but because I am committed to the ministry and witness of the United Church of Christ. The values of CHHSM — covenant, inclusion, stewardship, courage, and servant leadership — are UCC values, and they are my personal values as well. And I cannot think of better examples of vitality and witness in the UCC than the members of CHHSM.
I look forward to getting to know you in the coming days and working together, in the words of the CHHSM Vision, to “create a just, caring and compassionate world.” May our ministries let us find our own deep gladness as we seek to meet the world’s deep hunger.