CHHSM’s Graham Called as Pastor of Pilgrim Congregational UCC in Cleveland

The UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM) announced today (Nov. 1) that the Rev. George Graham, CHHSM’s vice president, has submitted his resignation, effective Nov. 30, 2023. Graham has been called as pastor of Pilgrim Congregational UCC in Cleveland.

“George has been an essential part of our CHHSM family for the past five years, and his contributions have been invaluable,” said Jamar Doyle, president and CEO of CHHSM. “We are incredibly grateful for his service and know that he will continue to make a profound impact in both the UCC and throughout the community in his new role and ministry. While we will miss his dedicated leadership and knowledge, we are excited for his new journey in a role that aligns with his calling.”

Graham came to CHHSM in October 2018 from the Seidman Cancer Center of University Hospitals in Cleveland, where he served as development officer from 2014 to 2018. From 2007 to 2014, he was director of development and external relations for Adoption Network Cleveland. He worked for the national setting of the UCC, as editorial director for professional and academic resources with The Pilgrim Press (2000-2002) and as associate for leadership gifts (2002-2007).

“My role at CHHSM allowed me to bring together my experience in health and human services and my commitment to the UCC in a way that was incredibly meaningful for me,” said Graham. “When I arrived in 2018, I didn’t expect to be supporting our members through a pandemic 18 months later. I was really moved by the way that I saw our members lean into their mission during the pandemic — often at great cost to themselves. I don’t think I will ever forget their witness.”

Graham was officially called by unanimous vote during a congregational meeting immediately following worship at Pilgrim Oct. 29. After the meeting, the church celebrated his call with a potluck.

For Graham, returning to Pilgrim UCC as pastor is a homecoming. “Pilgrim UCC has been a very important place for me and my family,” Graham said. “I was ordained there in 2003, and both of our kids arrived while we were members, and were baptized there, too. I look forward to returning to Pilgrim in a new role to offer pastoral leadership, bringing all that I have learned at CHHSM and other places with me. I feel like everything I have done across the arc of my ministry has prepared me for this moment.”

The CHHSM executive committee, board, and staff are working hard to ensure a smooth transition. The search process for a new vice president will begin soon.

“We thank George for his outstanding service to CHHSM and wish him success in his new role,” added Doyle. “We know that Pilgrim’s congregation will be blessed by his leadership and presence.”

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