CHHSM Annual Gathering a Success in Attendance, Programming

As those who attended the 2018 CHHSM Annual Gathering already know, this year’s event was a resounding success, filled with meaningful worship experiences, inspiring speakers, and motivational workshops. But now, CHHSM has the data to prove it!

Thanks to a record-breaking number of attendees — which averaged 125/day — plus the generous sponsorship of CHHSM member ministries, UCC partners, and Ziegler Investment Banking, Annual Gathering operations ended up slightly in the black, says Mary Paxton, CHHSM’s associate for engagement and executive administration.

While it’s always good when a large meeting breaks even, CHHSM President and CEO Michael J. Readinger says the bigger news is the increased attendance, which was due in large part to the huge welcome CHHSM received by its St. Louis-area member ministries.

“The incredible hospitality of all of the St. Louis-area CHHSM members helped create an atmosphere of excitement and a desire to learn how we can increase our advocacy efforts,” said Readinger. “Special thanks to Deaconess Foundation, for hosting the opening worship, and allowing CHHSM to participate in the consecration of the Center for Child Well-Being.”

And the Survey Says …

The Annual Gathering, which focused on the role of advocacy in ministry, included a CHHSM survey of participants. Survey results backed up the positive feedback heard in the hallways and meeting rooms.

“People overall were pleased with the accommodations and program content,” said Paxton. “The ‘Blow the Trumpet’ keynote from the Rev. Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation, was well received.”

Attendees called Wilson’s call to advocacy and action “motivational, inspiring, and thought-provoking. It touched on issues that are relevant locally and nationally,” Paxton added.

“This year’s attendees also thought the panel discussion – comprised of representatives from Ziegler, Deaconess, LeadingAge, and the UCC — had an excellent selection of speakers and provided good information on the role of advocacy from an individual and organizational perspective,” said Paxton.

The Nollau workshops covering how CHHSM ministries can be a voice of action and advocacy, led by the graduating class of CHHSM’s Nollau Institute, also were well received.

App Played a Role

The Annual Gathering app, which allowed attendees to share comments, ideas and information across social media platforms, added a unique dimension to the experience.

More than 120 unique users engaged the app across all handheld devices, and created more than 350 messages and social media shares. Almost 4,000 actions were taken by users throughout the gathering. That amounted to more than 4,000 total minutes of active app engagement.

“The role of an event app is still developing,” said Readinger. “We look forward to exploring new ways to engage our Annual Gathering attendees through the app in future meetings.”

SAVE THE DATE: The 2019 CHHSM Annual Gathering takes place March 5-7, 2019, in Chicago.

See photos and resource materials from the 2018 Annual Gathering.

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