Growing Together at General Synod

Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

The 30th UCC General Synod was a time of celebrating, visioning, imagining the future, reflecting and building community. It was a time of great passion for the church of our shared heritage. It was also a time of immense learning.

Now is the time to look at the possibilities of where this experience might take us, not only as the church, but as faith-based ministries committed to health and human service. What did we learn from this gathering of the church?

First, we are committed to inclusion. The diversity of our church and our dedication to social justice issues bubbled to the top of our many resolution conversations and votes. There was lively debate at nearly every step of the way, but once again we reached consensus to do the right thing.

At Darlene Sowell’s talk at the Valerie Russell lecture, we explored how systemic racism has been intertwined in all facets of our society for so long. She offered hope for the future in the conversations that are happening in our communities, our churches and in our CHHSM ministries.

Second, we care about serving others. On a chalk wall in the CHHSM exhibit space, we produced a tribute to our shared UCC core values as they are expressed in our definitions of servant leadership. Pictures are available on the CHHSM website and Facebook page.

Karen Butler’s talk at the Health and Wholeness Luncheon highlighted the many disparities that occur across race and class in access to health care. There are many environmental factors contributing to this unfortunate and avoidable dilemma, but once again, we as the collective church are taking a leadership role in providing affordable care to those on the margins.

Lastly, we are forward-thinking. With John Dorhauer’s election, we celebrated a new general minister and president, along with a new vision and a promise made for the future that includes connecting the churches to CHHSM member ministries.

We have learned so much and continue learning. This church, including all of its settings, expresses itself by caring for all people, especially those on the margins. We are a church that is growing together with compassion, grace and excitement for the future ahead.

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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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