Collaborative Builds Resource Network, Relationships

Vivian and Dennis Purcell love to hit the road. The Cedar Community residents have traveled from Wisconsin to Washington and everywhere in between.

The Purcells hold the record at the West Bend, Wisconsin, continuing care retirement community for most miles logged through Passport to Travel. The innovative program invites residents at 18 CHHSM senior living organizations to lodge at sister communities for up to two weeks free of charge.

Passport to Travel is the brainchild of CHHSM’s Senior Services Collaborative (CSSC), a group of 11 continuing care retirement communities that meet biannually to swap resources and collaborate.

“This is a safe place that CHHSM organizations can share successes and failures to help support each other so that all of our member agencies are running the best communities in the nation,” says Lee Syria of CSSC.

Syria, president and CEO of United Church Homes and Services in Newton, North Carolina, was recently named co-chair of CSSC, along with Diane Meatheany, chief operating officer of St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors in St. Louis.

“There is a true sense of community here,” says CHHSM President and CEO Michael Readinger. “A network of trusted friends and confidants.”

That community gives members a place to go for help, as well as the opportunity to take on big issues together.

The CSSC launched Passport to Travel in 2011, for example, to enhance the quality of seniors’ lives by allowing them to experience the radical hospitality of CHHSM ministries.

Syria hopes the CSSC will continue developing new and innovative ways to bring CHHSM members together. The group is currently developing a program called the Resource Exchange, which will allow CSSC members to exchange ideas and best practices. The group will flesh out the idea when it meets next during the CHHSM annual meeting.

Syria says the collaborative is at its best when members recognize their common ground.

“We feel comfortable getting advice because it’s not a competitive environment,” she says. “We’re really tied together by our faith heritage.”

Readinger also stresses the importance of maintaining a spiritual community like CHHSM and the CSSC.

“There is value in coming together as like-minded providers to share, network, create new ways of serving and support each other,” he says.

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Finding new staff members for leadership and ordained roles can be a difficult and long process, but CHHSM and the UCC have two free services to assist our organizations in those searches. As most people affiliated with CHHSM agencies know, each month, Diakonie publishes current opportunities that CHHSM members have sent in. But there is an even wider net open to all CHHSM agencies: the UCC Ministry Opportunities Listing. Learn more about both options. #BeAVoiceCHHSM ... See MoreSee Less
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