Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

I am pleased and honored to pen this, my first column as the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries’ new president and CEO. I give my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have entrusted me with this important call to servant leadership. I promise to be faithful to the mission, vision and core values that have guided our work over the years. I will also connect faithfully to the wider church as we work together in an expression of our shared ministry to change lives, provide continuing testament and practice extravagant welcome.

This is a historic time in the lives we share as the CHHSM family. After 23 years of prophetic and continuous leadership, we are experiencing “transition” with the retirement of the Rev. Bryan W. Sickbert. Not only do we have a new leader, but we are facing the possibility of culture change as a community of practice. What will emerge to become the new CHHSM? Transition periods are often unsettling, unplanned and unnamed. The unknown is before us and the future is uncertain. The manner in which we effectively and positively manage that process is the solution to any doubt or concern. If done with grace and passion, transition can be a transformative process that involves all constituents on all levels with equally valued input. We are experiencing an ending and a beginning.

An expanded view of transformation relates to our work in health and human service ministry. Our organizations are living, breathing, dynamic creatures that are fueled by mission, vision, values and human and financial resources. Organizations, like people, experience life cycles. You have all read the various theoretical interpretations that organizational behaviorists have shared with us for decades. Let’s embrace their teachings and allow transformative theory to be a part of the proactive, intentional, uplifting and appreciative manner in which we lead our shared ministry into the future, starting with the 2015 CHHSM Annual Meeting.

In March 2015 we will gather once again as the CHHSM family when we convene the 77th CHHSM Annual Meeting from March 5-7, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio. The annual meeting theme is based on 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” In actuality, no person or organization has ceased to be, however this is a unique time in our history to refresh, renew and reinvigorate our shared ministry.

As the president and CEO, I will collaborate with the board of directors, the staff, the membership, the volunteers in our member organizations, those we serve, those who fund us, those who partner with us and those we have not yet met to craft a bold new vision of all that we may become. We are experiencing both an ending and a beginning. Don’t be afraid to be a part of this transformative process. Please join me on this journey.

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All are welcome to join our dear friend and former colleague, the Rev. George Graham, as he is installed as pastor of Pilgrim Congregational UCC in Cleveland. The service of installation will be live-streamed at ... See MoreSee Less
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