Early-Bird Registration Opens Friday for CHHSM’s 85th Annual Gathering

Registration for CHHSM’s 85th Annual Gathering — to be held March 7-9, 2023, at the Hilton City Center in Denver — opens Friday, Dec. 16. Watch your email for the official announcement.

Centering on the theme “Together through Mountains and Valleys,” the 2023 gathering takes its inspiration from the Isaiah 40:4-5 passage, “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.” The theme will be woven throughout the 2023 Annual Gathering, through worship services, keynote addresses, and workshops.

The Annual Gathering theme relates to the Mile High City location, but also reflects on the ways that God has been with us through the mountains and valleys of the past several years, and calls us to work together to prepare the way for others.

Early bird registration runs through Jan. 13, 2023, and the cost is $550. The regular registration cost (after Jan. 13) is $595. Scholarships for registration and the hotel are being offered to encourage first-time attendees or make it possible for people from small organizations to attend. The scholarships are provided thanks to a sponsorship from CHHSM member Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF). Requests for a scholarship will be considered in the order they are received until funds are committed.

Keynote Addresses Focus on Theme

The Rev. Dr. Ben Sanders III

Bookending the Gathering will be keynote addresses by the Rev. Dr. Ben Sanders III (he/him) — strategic advisor in the Office of Internal and External Affairs at Denver’s Department of Transportation and infrastructure (DOTI) — and the Rev. Tracy Howe (her/they), founder of Restoration Village Arts and a cultural worker who integrates songwriting, music production, and liturgy into organizing, community building, and healing.

Sanders will deliver the opening keynote Wednesday, March 8. His address will help attendees reflect on their journey through the mountains and valleys of the past several years, and the role of faith-based organizations in helping people stay together and find their way. He will examine how to embrace future work with energy, commitment, and faith.

The Rev. Tracy Howe

Howe will address attendees Thursday, March 9. Their address, “Daily Transfigurations. We Are Not Alone,” will examine the mountaintop experience of Jesus’ transfiguration and his disciples’ hesitancy to leave that place of security, power, and love — and draw parallels to today’s world in all its complexity, especially the sustained injustice and threats of violence facing so many that can feel overwhelming. She will discuss how we might witness and be changed by daily transfigurations leading us toward love, even as the world seems to spiral away from it.

“Throughout our 85th Annual Gathering, we will reflect on the ways that God has walked with us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues to walk with us through mountains and valleys, opening us anew to ways to work together in ministry,” said the Rev. George Graham, CHHSM vice president. “We are excited to have the Gathering anchored by speakers who have thought deeply about these issues and bring so much wisdom and life experience to them.”

On Wednesday afternoon, a keynote panel discussion will be held by Annual Gathering sponsor and CHHSM partner Ziegler — a privately held investment bank, capital markets and proprietary investments firm that specializes in the healthcare, senior living and education sectors, as well as general municipal and structured finance, in order to generate a positive impact on the communities it serves. The discussion between Ziegler and CHHSM member leaders will reflect on the topic “Mission and Margin” and grapple with the mountains and valleys of the new, ongoing pandemic reality we face.

Inspiring Worship to Open and Close the Gathering

A highlight of the Annual Gathering will be its worship services. The opening worship service takes place March 7 at Kirk of Bonnie Brae UCC in Denver. The Rev. Selena Wright, pastor, will bring greetings, and the sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Traci Blackmon, the UCC’s associate general minister and vice president for Justice and Local Church Ministries.

Exterior, Martin Building, Denver Art Museum /Denver Art Museum photo

Closing worship takes place at the Denver Art Museum and will include the consecration of the newest class from CHHSM’s Nollau Leadership Institute as Diakonal Ministers. In addition to celebrating the Nollau class, the service will include a musical gift from closing keynoter Howe. The service will include communion. The Rev. Dr. Miguel A De La Torre, professor of social ethics and Latinx studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, will deliver the sermon.

More to See and Do and Experience

Following closing worship, Annual Gathering attendees will have an opportunity to tour the museum before returning to the Hilton City Center, thanks to the sponsorship of CHHSM member Archway Communities, based in Denver. The Denver Art Museum is renowned for its collection of indigenous art from the Americas. With collections of more than 70,000 diverse works from across the centuries and the world, it is one of the largest art museums between Chicago and the West Coast.

Other highlights of the Annual Gathering will include meaningful and educational workshops on everything from inclusivity to philanthropy; affinity group gatherings; a walking tour of downtown Denver; and plenty of time for reflection and renewing friendships with colleagues. Additionally, the final capstone projects of the graduating Nollau Leadership Institute class will be displayed throughout the Gathering, with class members on hand to discuss their projects with other attendees.

“Every year, we leave the Annual Gathering convinced it was the best one we’ve ever had,” said Jamar Doyle, CHHSM president and CEO. “Yet, every fall, we begin planning the next Gathering with even greater anticipation and expectations. Our 85th Annual Gathering’s speakers, workshops, and worship services will provide an inspired time for reflection and discussion on how we might use the experience of our mountains and valleys to build a more just, equitable, inclusive, diverse, and compassionate world.”

In order to make the meeting as safe as possible, CHHSM requires all who attend to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and boosted, or have an approved exemption, as well as to follow other safety measures in place at the time of the Annual Gathering.

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