Health and Human Service Sunday Connects CHHSM, Church

Kyle Zanker

Kyle Zanker, chief development officer at Crossroad Child and Family Services

It wasn’t long after Kyle Zanker spoke at a local United Church of Christ congregation that a call from a concerned church member came in.

“He said, ’I understand your beds are full and waiting lists are full, what can our church do to help?’ Those things happen all the time,” says Zanker, chief development officer at CHHSM member Crossroad Child and Family Services in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Zanker, who has been speaking to UCC congregations for more than 21 years, says the opportunity to connect with local churches is invaluable.

“Every time I speak at a church something happens,” she says. “When you share your story with a congregation, it becomes real to them. CHHSM says that we create a just, caring and compassionate world – well we don’t do that without them.”

Zanker encourages CHHSM organizations to find opportunities to build relationships with congregations, such as UCC Health and Human Service Sunday. This year’s event will be observed Jan. 29, 2017.

The day is an opportunity for the church to create awareness about health concerns, address issues of justice in health care and share information about various health and human service ministries.

In addition to the annual day of observance, leaders like Nancy Potter are eager to build connections throughout the year.

“We want to work on getting our local churches to adopt an organization and have a special relationship,” says Potter, coordinator for the Wisconsin conference CHHSM.

This year, Potter distributed a calendar promoting CHHSM and Wisconsin-area CHHSM members.

She says the goal is to shorten the distance between the local churches and CHHSM organizations.

“We lose track of the fact that these are faith-based agencies,” she says. “I’ve seen how seriously our leaders take the faith-based component and I want to bring that to our churches.”

Zanker hopes local congregations will increasingly see CHHSM as the church in action.

“We are the church,” she says. “We are the healing branch of the church. And many don’t know the organizations with a relationship to their conferences.”

Resources for Health and Human Service Sunday are available on the CHHSM website.

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