CHHSM’s Annual Meeting Offers ‘Sacred Conversations’ to Explore Leadership in a Changing World

What does it mean for an organization to be open and affirming, both to its members and to those it serves? How can CHHSM organizations advance their missions and strengthen relationships with the United Church of Christ? What is the best way to lead in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment?

These compelling issues will be explored during the 77th CHHSM Annual Meeting, March 5-7 in Cleveland, Ohio. During sessions called “Sacred Conversations,” members will be able to discuss the challenges and opportunities of providing support in a rapidly changing environment.

The sessions include:

Extravagant Welcome: Open and Affirming in the CHHSM World. Facilitated by the Rev. Loey Powell, executive associate to the general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, this session will look at how organizations can respond to an increasingly diverse population of clients, patients and residents.

Continuing Testament: CHHSM and the Church. Kyle Zanker, chief development officer at Crossroad Child & Family Services, and the Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, United Church Homes’ director of outreach and mission integration, will discuss how CHHSM organizations can share their missions and build partnerships with UCC churches and other organizations.

Changing Lives: Tackling Racial Inequality Within Our Ministries. Darlene Sowell, president and CEO of Neighborhood Houses, will ask organizations to consider how their services reflect the needs of their communities. The session will also explore underlying issues of racial inequality within their organizations.

The sessions will look at tough issues. “The conversations may be difficult, but they’re important,” says the Rev. Danielle Bartz, CHHSM program associate. “This is a part of who we are as an organization. Part of our responsibility and call is to talk about these things with openness and with one another.”

“Sacred Conversations” will be offered twice on March 6, allowing members to attend multiple sessions. On March 7, members will have time to extend the discussion with their affinity groups during the scheduled conversation circles.

Powell says that changes in society, from gay and lesbian couples who want to openly share their lives together during retirement to racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, emphasize that CHHSM organizations must continuously adjust to meet the needs of the population. Although these conversations may not immediately yield solutions, they are a good first step.

“Let’s have some conversations that might spark some new thought that we can take back to our institutions,” she says.

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