For Indiana Pastor, CHHSM Individual Membership is One More Way to Follow God’s Call

Stackhouse with the Rev. Chad Abbott, conference minister, during Rising Sun UCC’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Among the first things one notices about the Rev. Teri Lynn Stackhouse are her thirst for learning and passion for justice. Stackhouse is pastor of First UCC in Rising Sun, Ind., one of six Just Peace congregations in the UCC’s Indiana-Kentucky Conference. For her, following God’s call also involves caring deeply for those needing health and human service ministries. So when CHHSM announced at its Annual Gathering in March that new individual memberships would be offered, Stackhouse jumped at the chance.

“I have followed CHHSM for a long time, and I believe my membership is a wonderful opportunity to serve and to meet with others,” says Stackhouse, who signed up for a three-year membership. “I am touched at how CHHSM works so closely in integrating community and congregations, and how radical hospitality is spoken throughout its health and human services outreach.”

Stackhouse feels her membership will be beneficial to her ministry at First UCC, a small rural church in Indiana’s Ohio County. In celebration of its 150th anniversary, the congregation has begun a CARE campaign, a variation of the UCC’s 3 Great Loves: care for persons, for environment, and for neighbor. She sees her individual CHHSM membership as an additional resource for her congregation’s outreach.

“This membership dovetails nicely in our congregation’s efforts to reach into the community, as the efforts become more of a mission,” she says. “We are small and aging; however we are mighty in our faith and gifts.”

Individual memberships have the potential to bring new ideas and fresh approaches to CHHSM, says Michael J. Readinger, president and CEO. Stackhouse is one of several new individual members.

Stackhouse preaches to the congregation.

“We are thrilled to have Teri as our first individual member, and look forward to getting to know her — and our other individual members — and serving together in ministry,” Readinger says. “Teri’s enthusiasm for CHHSM and willingness to become involved demonstrates some of the many reasons we value our individual memberships.”

In addition to reaping the benefits for her congregation, Stackhouse also looks forward to the personal mentoring and collegial opportunities offered by her membership. She sees as invaluable “the opportunity to learn from all of the events and from other members” in order to serve in more meaningful ways. CHHSM members’ many ministries have been pivotal, she adds, “in ministry and also in my own journey.”

Stackhouse says she is particularly taken with CHHSM members’ varied services, from the work helping to reunite immigrant children with their families that Bethany Children’s Home does to the many CHHSM organizations that offer senior services and affordable care. Now that her own children are grown, she views her membership as one way to keep learning and growing in ministry.

“That Bethany is serving those children who have been separated from their parents … makes my heart sing,” she says. “I’ve been aware of some of the other services, but this is the time to keep learning in new ways, and this membership kind of brings it all together.”

Stackhouse is eager to attend the Annual Gatherings and to learn more about CHHSM’s many leadership resources, including the Nollau Institute.

“I will serve in any way that I am called to with CHHSM,” she says. “I look forward to meeting many people and learning more so that I can be a good servant. This is an open door to greater service.”

Learn more about CHHSM’s Individual Memberships.

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