Enroll by April 28 To Be Part of Nollau’s Next Cohort

The 2022-2023 Nollau Class was consecrated as Diakonal Ministers at the 2023 85th CHHSM Annual Gathering in Denver, CO.

The Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM) recognizes the importance of cultivating leaders in the realization of its mission to advance the work of the UCC’s health and human service ministries in creating a just, caring, and compassionate world. This belief is why, for more than 20 years, CHHSM has hosted a program like the Nollau Leadership Institute. Enrollment for the 2023-2024 class  is open online through Friday, April 28, and the application can be found on the CHHSM website

Colloquially referred to simply as Nollau, the institute is CHHSM’s signature program and offers a unique space for participants to form and deepen their leadership skills. Employing a cohort-based model, Nollau creates a place of belonging in which participants can cultivate connections between each other and the world. 

“The Nollau experience really is a journey — one that takes you deeply inward to yourself and widely outward to the world,” said the Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry, CHHSM’s associate for advocacy and leadership development. “In the Christian tradition, a sacred journey is called a pilgrimage, and you not only have your destination, but your companions, your fellow pilgrims, that make it such a spiritual practice. The community building that Nollau offers is consistently noted by the alumni as one of the key takeaways. And isn’t that the lifeblood of leadership? As we continue to journey through this pandemic and other national and global crises, finding such a community for cultivating leadership is a powerful force indeed.” 

An Overview of Nollau 

Nollau is a year-long program that employs in-person retreats, online interactions, and peer mentoring to develop the leadership skills of its participants. CHHSM’s commitment to the issues of race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice informs the anti-oppression and social justice lenses through which Nollau participants examine and practice leadership. The year of programming culminates at CHHSM’s Annual Gathering with a final day of programming before concluding with the commissioning of the class as Diakonal Ministers. Additional information about the curriculum is available online

“With burnout at an all-time high at health and human service organizations, now more than ever leaders in these fields must have a deep spiritual and practical toolkit from which to sustain both their work and their spirit,” stated Jamar Doyle, CHHSM president and CEO. “This is what the Nollau Leadership Institute provides our participants.  As CHHSM’s signature leadership program, Nollau participants deepen their leadership skillset through expert-led applied coursework that is framed through an exploration of their own spirituality.  Graduates leave Nollau with a new understanding of their spiritual identity and how that powers their holy work, along with tangible leadership skills they can immediately apply in their workplace.  They also join the proud tradition of Diakonal Ministers, a fellowship of servant leaders across the country they can call upon for support and guidance.  Nollau graduates are never alone.”   

A Legacy of Committed Leaders 

Nollau is named in honor of 19th-century minister the Rev. Louis Edward Nollau, who founded several St. Louis-area CCHSM organizations. In 1856, he established Good Samaritan Hospital, which was unique in its day for serving patients of any religious or racial background. Nollau’s curriculum and focus keep the values Nollau exhibited at its core. 

That focus is further nurtured once participants complete Nollau through the Diakonal Ministers Community, a network of Nollau alumni who stay engaged with each other and the Institute’s teaching to further their education and pursuits to make the world more just, caring, and compassionate. “The learnings that participants gain from Nollau and the relationships that they form shape and guide their ministries in critical ways. I know that has been the case for me,” concluded Rev. George Graham, vice president with CHHSM and a graduate of the program.  

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