By The Rev. Danielle K. Bartz
CHHSM Program Associate
“Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. Behold! I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:18-19
These energetic and future-oriented words were the focus of the 76th Annual Meeting of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries in Scottsdale, Ariz., Feb. 27-March 1. Participants not only enjoyed the warmth of Arizona but also had a chance to engage with colleagues across CHHSM agencies. Many people commented throughout the weekend that they looked forward to this gathering all year long for its open forum to exchange ideas, challenges and possibilities with like-minded folks.
The long weekend kicked off with a brief worship service, which included Holy Communion. The enthusiasm in the room was palpable as people greeted old and new friends.
Friday morning brought the first keynote address, which was presented by the Rev. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, director of the United Church of Christ’s Center for Analytics, Research and Data. The address, entitled “The Future Belongs to All of Us: Possibilities for Intergenerational Organizations,” laid out the differences between generations in the workplace. In many workplaces, there are four generations working together, which can create barriers. However, Lizardy-Hajbi explained that even though the different generations grew up in different circumstances, their outlook on work can be complimentary and lead to stronger teams. Following the keynote address, a panel discussion was held with a free exchange of questions and comments between the panelists and audience. Throughout the annual meeting, people continued to discuss the topic of generational diversity.
Two workshops were presented on Friday afternoon by both keynoters. Each workshop was well attended, offering a great chance to talk with the presenters.
In the past, Friday night was a “do your own thing” for attendees. However, since this meeting was about doing “a new thing,” a pool party with a band was scheduled as a fun option. Even though rain brought the party inside, people still had a great time and danced the night away.
On Saturday morning, Nancy Beard, president of United Church Homes and Services Foundation, spoke on development with a keynote entitled “Look to the Future and Become Energized about Fund Development.” Beard put the fun in fund development for those gathered. People left the presentation excited to begin telling the stories of their ministries – the key way to interest others in supporting the important work of CHHSM organizations.
Following the affinity groups, the Annual Membership Meeting was held. Members welcomed three women to the board of directors: Renita White, Loey Powell and Megan Culbertson. It was also a joy to welcome a new ministry to the CHHSM family: Samaritan Bethany from Rochester, Minn. Bryan Sickbert, president and CEO of CHHSM, also gave his report to the gathered members. It is clear the future of CHHSM and its member ministries is very strong.
The closing worship service was held at the Church of the Beatitudes in Phoenix with the sermon delivered by the Rev. Peggy Roberts, senior vice president of spiritual life at Beatitudes Campus. The message was just what people needed to hear in order to prepare to return to their organizations and carry them forward with God’s blessing and grace.
The closing barbecue was also forced indoors because of rain, but a good time was had by all. A fun troupe of hula-hoopers provided unique entertainment that included participation from the audience. It was a great conclusion to the weekend.
All of the keynote and workshop presentations are available on the CHHSM website.