This month’s column is written by the newly installed chair of the CHHSM Board of Directors, the Rev. Kenneth Daniel.
CHHSM’s 79th Annual Meeting was a success in many ways. Held in Milwaukee, March 2-4, nearly 200 people attended the three-day event, listening to inspiring speakers, participating in innovative workshops, and enjoying the warm fellowship that is the abiding hallmark of CHHSM.
As the newly elected board chair, I want to thank the Rev. Bonnie Condon, our outgoing chair, for her leadership over the past two years. Bonnie effectively led the board during the time we reimagined our vision, mission and core values. Under her leadership, we also developed our value proposition in a fresh new way. Despite her very busy work as a vice president with the Advocate Health System, Bonnie set the pace of servant leadership for our board that pervades both CHHSM and our members’ agencies.
I plan to build on the board’s work on our vision, mission and values. We need to be as strong a voice supporting and advocating for our members’ ministries as we possibly can.
I also want to recognize the CHHSM staff. Our meeting was an exceptional experience due to their hard work. Mike, Ben, Danielle, Catherine and Amber all deserve our appreciation for planning and coordinating this great event.
The CHHSM Senior Services Collaborative also met in a pre-conference event at the Harley-Davidson Museum on Wednesday, March 1. We are continuing the planning for more innovative collaborations among our members. Watch for more information about future webinars for this group, as well as other affinity groups.
The true joy of CHHSM membership comes from the close bond of being in community together as we celebrated in remarkable worship services.
Our opening service featured a powerful sermon by Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ. He challenged us to join our voices together on issues of common concern and to raise our efforts at advocacy. In these very unstable times, those we serve — the marginalized, the poor, the immigrant, the lonely, the sick, and the multi-abled — are more frequently seen as ones to “pay for” when our legislators are making budget decisions and cutting human services.
Collectively, as CHHSM, we fight the causes of poverty, prejudice, and inequality. Collectively we provide housing, health care, home and community services, education, child and youth development, and a multitude of other ministries, big and small.
Collectively, we were born from the church who read from the prophets like Isaiah who wrote, ‘How terrible it will be for those who make unfair laws, and those who write laws that make life hard for people. They are not fair to the poor, and they rob my people of their rights.” (Isaiah 10:1-2)
These words are as true today as they were in the 8th century BCE and the 19th or 20th centuries CE when many of our ministries began. The church marshaled its meager resources to found our ministries, some going back more than 150 years. Their vision was to find a way to put the gospel into action, to address a social failing that our society ignored, and to make life more fair, more just, and more reflective of the divine intention from creation.
This is the heart and soul that motivates me to be part of CHHSM. I hope you will join me in advancing the gospel’s call to justice for those we are privileged to serve. And plan to join us for our 80th annual meeting next year, March 1-3, 2018, in St. Louis!