Dr. Ben Sanders III to Deliver Opening Keynote at CHHSM Annual Gathering in March 2023

Dr. Ben Sanders III

The UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM) announced today (Nov. 11) that Dr. Ben Sanders III will deliver the opening keynote address during its 85th Annual Gathering, to be held March 7-9, 2023, in Denver.

Sanders currently serves as director of race and social justice trainings and strategies in the Mayor’s Office of Social Equity & Innovation (OSEI) in Denver. Later this month, he takes on a new role as strategic advisor in the Office of Internal and External Affairs at Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI). Prior to serving in the mayor’s office, Sanders was an assistant professor of theology and ethics at UCC-related Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo.

“I am very excited to begin our Annual Gathering by hearing the perspective that Dr. Sanders brings to us about mercy and justice in his roles with the City of Denver as well as a scholar of African-American theology, transformative leadership, and social ethics,” said the Rev. George Graham, vice president of CHHSM.

Sanders holds a B.A. degree in religion from Hope College in Holland, Mich.; an M.Div. degree in theology and ethics from Union Theological Seminary, a historically-related seminary of the UCC in New York City; and a Ph.D. degree in theology, philosophy, and cultural theory from the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology.

The 2023 Annual Gathering takes place at Denver’s Hilton City Center, and will center around the theme, “Together through Mountains and Valleys.” The theme is based on Isaiah 40:4-5: “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low. … Then the glory of our God shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together.” It relates to the 2023 Mile High City location, but also reflects on the ways that God has gone with us through the mountains and valleys the past several years, and calls us to work together to prepare the way for others.

“The 2023 Annual Gathering will include meaningful worship, informative workshops, and inspiring keynote addresses,” said Jamar Doyle, president and CEO of CHHSM. “We know it will be both a learning and renewing experience for all participants.”

Registration for the 85th Annual Gathering will open in mid-December. In order to make the meeting as safe as possible, CHHSM requires all who attend to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or have an approved exemption, as well as to follow other safety measures, such as a negative COVID test within 48 hours prior to the Annual Gathering.

As with past Annual Gatherings, one highlight in 2023 will be the consecration of the new graduating class of the Nollau Leadership Institute as Diakonal Ministers during the gathering’s closing worship service. Throughout the Annual Gathering, the Nollau class’s final capstone projects will be on display for attendees to view. The capstones are creative expressions of what the Nollau experience has meant to participants.

In addition to Sanders’ keynote, the Annual Gathering will include other daily keynotes, powerful preachers, workshops, affinity group meetings, time for reflection, and social gatherings.

More information will be posted as it becomes available, on the CHHSM website and through its monthly e-news, Diakonie.

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CHHSM Board and Staff are grieved to learn of the death of our friend and colleague, Greg Watson, who died in October 2022. Greg was vice president of operations for Embrace Living Communities, based in Oak Brook, Ill.Greg was a graduate of CHHSM’s Nollau Leadership Institute, class of 2018-2019, and was consecrated as a Diakonal Minister during our 2019 Annual Gathering in Chicago. In an article about his class in June 2018 — not long after the group’s first retreat — Greg said, “The best part is not only beginning the process of clarifying your calling; but also, understanding and accepting one’s personal strength. Recognition of one’s ‘true' self enables us to serve from a place of wholeness.”Greg also served on the CHHSM Board of Directors, and was a beloved friend and colleague to many in the CHHSM family. Embrace Living stated on its website, “Greg was an outstanding servant leader for 17 years at Embrace Living Communities. He will be greatly missed.”CHHSM sends its prayers and love to Greg’s friends, family, and Embrace Living colleagues. ... See MoreSee Less
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