CHHSM Annual Meeting Builds Bridges

Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

As our country, our society, our political parties and the whole world move out of a hugely divisive election cycle and into a new administration in Washington DC, let’s take some time away while we gather in Milwaukee for the 79th CHHSM Annual Meeting. This year’s theme, “Our Bold Vision in Word and Deed,” will offer us a chance to step back, reflect on our work, and look at ways to frame our voices about servant leadership in our various ministry settings.

The messages we communicate to our constituents about our work are as different as the services we all provide. However, they all have this in common — our faith-based heritage sets us apart from our for-profit cousins. This is how we build bridges between our worlds, in our advocacy, to funders and for those we serve.

The scriptural passage from Psalm 19, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O God, my Rock and my Redeemer”, is at the root of this year’s meeting theme.

If we are faithful servant leaders, 

If we are the hands and feet who are working to honor God in our faith-based ministry,

If we can articulate the heritage bestowed upon us by our founders,

If our words and our deeds truly represent our mission statements and the ministry we provide,

Then surely God will find our passion-driven movement to be acceptable.

Spend a few days in community with like-minded individuals as we explore ways to “Be The Voice” of this ministry as a vital expression of the church. The meeting will be full of good content, informative workshops and plenary sessions, affinity group gatherings, beautiful worship services, seeing old friends, making new friends, great meals, social time, and more!

In the days ahead, as we seek to rise above all that would seek to divide us, let us focus on the important issues and policies that will support our clients and those we serve.

We are a diverse group of servant leaders. We may not all agree on everything politically, in our respective faith traditions, with regard to human sexuality, economic theory, etc. But we are a passion-driven community of faith-based service providers who can agree to disagree as readily as we agree to agree. We are a community of friends who are willing to unify our voices to advocate for what we believe and to care for those we serve. So, let us set aside our differences and the disputes with those we do not agree with.

Courage is one of CHHSM’s core values. That means having the courage to advocate for our values and to have the important and difficult conversations with each other and with others. Let’s take this time to heal together. Let’s build bridges that will nurture us, sustain us, guide us, unify us and comfort us in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.  I’ll see you in Milwaukee — or somewhere in ministry soon.

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