Gratitude – The Year in Review

Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

I look back on 2016 with gratitude on all that has happened in our shared life of this passion-driven health and human service ministry called CHHSM.

The dedication of the CHHSM board and staff motivates and pushes me to excel every day. The incredible ministry provided by all of our member organizations constantly inspires me. The impact this work has on the lives of those who are served is a reminder of its importance and of all that still needs to be done. Yes, I am grateful for all that has been accomplished in the last year, but I am also hopeful for a world that brings so many in distress to a better place where they can be safe, housed, fed and healed.

In reflecting on 2016, I reviewed all of the columns and news stories we shared through Diakonie, Facebook and our website. I digested the words of our mission, vision and values and the statement of our value proposition. I marveled at the feeling of community we experienced together at the CHHSM Annual Meeting in March, the stories in our annual report and all that I learned from so many visits with our member organizations across the country.

I reread many of my sermons and reflections from anniversary celebrations and worships. This year-in-review experience reminds me of how blessed I am to serve in my role and how grateful I am to all who partake in this work.

I encourage you to spend a few “Auld Lang Syne” minutes and take the same journey of reflection and remember all that has happened in your year. Relish the accomplishments and successes while you strategize about your challenges and hopes for the future. It is refreshing, renewing, encouraging, and it will prompt you to be better and do more in the coming year!

My thanks and gratitude to you all for your ministry, passion and faithfulness. In closing, I share my favorite servant leader blessing to open your heart and mind while lifting your spirit:

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with just enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and all our neighbors who are poor. Amen.

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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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