CHHSM Board Elects New Members, Announces Officers During Annual Gathering

CHHSM Board Chair Abby Drane

During the Annual Business Meeting of its 82nd Annual Gathering, the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries announced new officers and welcomed new board members. Held in Memphis, Tenn., the Annual Gathering was held March 3-5, 2020.

The new Chair of CHHSM’s Board of Directors is Abby Drane, president and CEO of Seven Counties Services/Bellewood & Brooklawn in Louisville, Ky. “On the journey to create a more caring world, CHHSM plays an integral role by bringing healing to those in need through health and human service ministries,” Drane says. “It is a tremendous honor and privilege to serve CHHSM’s Board of Directors in my new role as chairperson, and I look forward to the ways we can work together to further spread compassion through our vital work.”

Drane is joined by new Board Vice Chair Michelle Just, president and CEO of Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix, and new Board Treasurer Jay Biere, chief executive officer and president of UCC-related Plymouth Place Senior Living in LaGrange Park, Ill.

The Rev. Beth Long-Higgins

During the Business Meeting, the CHHSM Board also elected new members the Rev. Kirsten Peachey, director of faith and health partnerships and co-director of faith and community health transformation for Advocate Aurora Health in Downers Grove, Ill; the Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, director of the Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging of United Church Homes in Marion, Ohio; and the Rev. Robert Symanski, director of spiritual life at Piedmont Crossing in Thomasville, N.C., part of the United Church Homes and Services family of communities.

Long-Higgins says she sees “the opportunity to serve on the board for CHHSM as another extension of my commitment to the United Church of Christ.”

“I value the conversations between our organizations that spark innovation and collaboration in our ministries across the country,” Long-Higgins adds. “And CHHSM provides the network for all of us who share this history and calling to engage in ministry in the world through agencies in covenant through the United Church of Christ.”

The Rev. Robert Symanski

Symanski cites his experience as part of the 2017-2018 Nollau Leadership Institute class consecrated as Diakonal Ministers as one of the reasons he feels “honored to serve on the CHHSM Board.”

“I think CHHSM is unequalled in the way it facilitates what the Church’s ministry ought to be — developing vibrant, effective, faith-driven ministries; cultivating the spiritual gifts of intentional servant leaders; and strengthening the connections among CHHSM’s members and the Church’s worshipping communities,” Symanski adds. “I am very proud to be part of CHHSM.”

The Rev. Darrell Goodwin

During the meeting, the CHHSM Board also welcomed newly-appointed member the Rev. Darrell Goodwin, associate conference minister in the UCC’s Tri-Conference Ministries, consisting of the Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota regional Conferences.

“We are living in a complex and dynamic world; the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries continues to be a trusted, relevant and critical partner to its constituent organizations, and all settings of the church,” Goodwin says. “It is an honor to serve on the Board of Directors and be a part of the change, growth, and development toward a more just and human world for all.”

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