CHHSM Joins Other UCC Settings in Offering Support to Our Church’s Wider Mission

Breaking from tradition, the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM), which does not receive any funding from the denomination’s shared funding pool known as Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM), has decided to contribute to it instead.

CHHSM, which is supported financially by 73 corporate members, made an initial donation of $1,000 this month to OCWM National Basic Support, with the hope of increasing its support in coming years. OCWM, which is primarily supported by congregations and individuals, is what supports the UCC’s connectional ministries at the conference, national and global settings of the church.

In a letter to the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President, CHHSM’s President and CEO Michael J. Readinger and Board Chair the Rev. Bonnie Condon explained the rationale behind CHHSM’s decision.

“While, to our collective knowledge, it has never been the practice of the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries to participate in OCWM, the Executive Committee of the CHHSM Board of Directors has decided to break with that tradition, believing that the strength of the United Church of Christ is the demonstrated commitment of all of our many parts to live in covenant with the whole church, with OCWM being one of those important and visible ways that we can express that value,” they wrote.

“As an association of nearly 400 UCC-related health and human service ministries across the United States, our member institutions deeply value our historic and ongoing bonds with the wider church. We feel strongly that CHHSM ministries are not tangential to the UCC’s core mission of advocating justice and offering compassion in Christ’s name, but substantially integral to the fulfillment of that urgent, holy objective.”

Readinger says CHHSM plans to annually evaluate its budget, with the hope of continuing and growing this new tradition of investment in the wider church through its monetary support.

In July, CHHSM made a $500 contribution to support the UCC’s quadrennial National Youth Event held this summer in Orlando. CHHSM also contributes $500 annually to support its longstanding partnership with the health and human service ministries of the Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK) in Germany.

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