Bring the Message of Collective Care to Your Local Church on Health and Human Service Sunday

The Council for Health and Human Service Ministries’ resources for UCC Health and Human Service Sunday, which takes place Jan. 30, is one way CHHSM members and friends can bring the message of serving leadership and collective care to their own local churches. Especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Health and Human Service Sunday can highlight the many ways CHHSM members work to create a just, caring, and compassionate world for all.

Health and Human Service Sunday is a chance for CHHSM member employees and friends to bring a mission moment to their own congregations,” said Michael J. Readinger, president and CEO of CHHSM. “You don’t have to be a worship leader — you can simply offer to bring the story of your CHHSM organization to your own local church.”

The resources include scripture readings, a liturgy, and print and digital-ready graphics. The  liturgical elements include a greeting, call to worship, opening meditation, litany for collective care, prayer of confession, call to offering, offering prayer, and benediction. The overarching theme is transforming the world through connections of community and care. A special “Litany for Collective Care” — part of the liturgy — lifts up the beloved healing power of God and the serving leadership of health and human service workers throughout the UCC.

“For some local UCC churches, health and human service ministries have always been an integral part of congregational life, but the Covid-19 pandemic has brought all of us in touch with these communities in profound ways,” said the Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry, CHHSM’s associate for advocacy and leadership development. “Health and Human Service Sunday offers a way for UCC congregations to pray for and with these unique touchpoints where God is speaking and working. The Litany for Collective Care from this year’s liturgy really speaks to this reality and honors the sacredness we find in shared struggle and true belonging.”

Health and Human Service Sunday brings attention to the more than 400 CHHSM member ministries, all of whom are on the front lines of health care and community services each day.

“Each day, our CHHSM members bring care and compassion to everyone in their communities,” said the Rev. George Graham, CHHSM vice president. “Our member agencies also advocate for equitable and inclusive access to health care and affordable housing, and actively work towards becoming an anti-racist world.”

Often founded by local UCC congregations, CHHSM agencies include UCC-related health care centers, hospitals, affordable housing and retirement communities, transitional housing for those experiencing homelessness or domestic violence, and service centers for children, youth, families, and those with developmental disabilities.

The Health and Human Service Sunday liturgy also encompasses the theme of the 2022 CHHSM Annual Gathering, “Forward Together.” But that phrase “is so much more than just a tag line,” said Berry. “It is the grounding for all the work we do in CHHSM — moving ‘Forward Together’ to create a more equitable, diverse, inclusive and compassionate world for all. ‘Liturgy’ means ‘work of the people,’ and this special Sunday is a way to acknowledge the collective work that is bringing healing to our world.”

Bring CHHSM’s message to YOUR local church — access the resources for Health and Human Service Sunday.

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CHHSM Board and Staff are grieved to learn of the death of our friend and colleague, Greg Watson, who died in October 2022. Greg was vice president of operations for Embrace Living Communities, based in Oak Brook, Ill.Greg was a graduate of CHHSM’s Nollau Leadership Institute, class of 2018-2019, and was consecrated as a Diakonal Minister during our 2019 Annual Gathering in Chicago. In an article about his class in June 2018 — not long after the group’s first retreat — Greg said, “The best part is not only beginning the process of clarifying your calling; but also, understanding and accepting one’s personal strength. Recognition of one’s ‘true' self enables us to serve from a place of wholeness.”Greg also served on the CHHSM Board of Directors, and was a beloved friend and colleague to many in the CHHSM family. Embrace Living stated on its website, “Greg was an outstanding servant leader for 17 years at Embrace Living Communities. He will be greatly missed.”CHHSM sends its prayers and love to Greg’s friends, family, and Embrace Living colleagues. ... See MoreSee Less
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