CHHSM, Heartland Conference One-Day Leadership Retreat to Focus on Collaboration in Ministry

The UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM) and Heartland Conference are teaming up again to bring a one-day leadership retreat to all conference staff, church members, and Designated Ministries employees. “Collaborating to Flourish” takes place Aug. 31, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and promises to be a day filled with worship, spiritual practices, and tangible takeaways.

“The word ‘collaborate’ comes from the French, meaning, ‘The act of working together’ or ‘united labor,’” said the Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry, CHHSM’s associate for advocacy and leadership development. “We long to find fresh ways of sharing mission across our diverse sectors, gifts and perspectives so that the work of the Good News is not only more effective, but more joy-filled. And we also share in the labor that is struggle, pain, exertion, and strife. How do we flourish from that place? What might our God be able to do with such energy, such soul work? I hope we can come together at this retreat and enliven our imaginations with belonging and new life.”

Among the topics covered will be working in shared mission, belonging, and intentionally creating collaboration between nonprofits and churches for the benefit of the entire community. Thanks to the generosity of the Heartland Conference, the retreat is free for all participants.

“We live in an increasingly fragmented world that seems at odds with itself at nearly every turn. The intersections inside the church and those between the church, our health and human service ministries, and the wider world are more complicated than ever,” said the Rev. David Long-Higgins, conference minister. “The demands this places on leaders are extraordinary and not likely to change soon. Because of this, collaboration is more important than ever. Shared wisdom and encouragement for leading in this time are essential.”

Led by CHHSM staff, the sessions will include an examination of how to cultivate deeper connections, conversations, and collective action, particularly during the current time of disintegration. The theme of the day is from Job: “For there is  hope for a tree … Even with the root rotting underground and a withered stump half alive, at the scent of water, it will flourish and put out branches like a new plant.”

“There is so much to be gained from CHHSM and other UCC folks coming together and learning from one another in community,” said Berry. “Ecosystems flourish from diversity, and retreats like this one make sacred space for the cross pollination of ideas, relationships, and the work of the Spirit to grow.”

The retreat takes place at Disciples Christian Church, 3663 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. with light refreshments, and lunch is provided.

“We are thrilled to once again bring a leadership retreat to the Heartland Conference,” said Jamar Doyle, president and CEO of CHHSM. “We cherish and are grateful for our partnership with the Heartland Conference in bringing these important sessions to church members, conference staff, and Designated Ministry employees.”

Long-Higgins, concurred, adding that the CHHSM/Heartland Conference partnership benefits everyone. “I am especially excited about the ways this collaborative approach can bring together the rich resource of our CHHSM agencies and staff with our committed but often overburdened clergy and other health and human service ministry leaders,” he said. “The Heartland Conference is delighted to once again offer this free opportunity to anyone — members, clergy, and other CHHSM member leaders — connected to the conference.”

Register for the retreat.

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