Members, Partners, Friends: Everyone Steps Up to Support CHHSM’s Annual Gathering

“Together through Mountains and Valleys” is the theme of this year’s Annual Gathering, a reference to CHHSM members weathering the ups and downs of the past three years as they continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as institutional racism and equity concerns. But thanks to partners and other CHHSM members stepping up to offer sponsorship gifts, one guaranteed mountaintop experience will be the gathering itself, to be held March 7-9 at the Denver Hilton City Center.

“Each year, it takes many committed hands, voices, and hearts to make the CHHSM Annual Gathering possible,” said Jamar Doyle, president and CEO of CHHSM. “The Annual Gathering wouldn’t be possible without both the hard work of our staff and the generous gifts of our partners, members, and friends. We appreciate you, and the opportunity the Annual Gathering provides to renew and strengthen the bonds between us.”

For CHHSM Board Chair Michelle Just, president and CEO of Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix, the Annual Gathering is a way to stay in contact with ministry partners. “We are so very grateful for the commitment and generosity of all the sponsors at CHHSM’s Annual Gathering,” Just said. “Being a sponsor is a visible way to connect with the UCC and with partners across the country. All our members, partners, and sponsors are a community of people working together to create a just, caring, and compassionate world.”

This year’s gathering boasts three Platinum Sponsors, responsible not only for significant portions of the Annual Gathering experience, but for some of its attendees’ presence as well.

Returning Presenting Sponsor Ziegler will sponsor the Mission and Margin plenary discussion on Wednesday afternoon, March 8. A privately held investment bank, capital markets and proprietary investments firm based in Chicago, Ziegler specializes in healthcare, senior living and education sectors, among others.

“Ziegler has been a consistent sponsor of CHHSM for a number of years, and we always look forward to the Annual Gathering,” said Lisa McCracken, director of senior living research. “The relationships among members clearly extend well beyond this once-a-year gathering, and the camaraderie under the shared mission of CHHSM is palpable. We always leave the conference with tangible takeaways, new connections, and optimist for what lies ahead. We look forward to sharing our areas of expertise and contributing to the success of this year’s conference.”

As in year’s past, the Annual Gathering provides scholarships for people unable to meet the registration fees, especially for first-time attendees. This year’s Scholarship Sponsor is long-time CHHSM member and Annual Gathering supporter Retirement Housing Foundation.

“As an organization founded by two United Church of Christ clergy and a lay person, RHF’s affiliation with CHHSM reminds us as to the importance of being in service to those in need,” said Stuart Hartman, president and CEO. “We are proud to be part of group that shares a common faith and dedication where thousands are served daily.”

Each Annual Gathering strives to lift up particularly meaningful settings and experiences for attendees, and this year is no exception. Closing worship takes place at the Denver Art Musuem, and will include the consecration of this year’s graduating Nollau Leadership Institute class members as diakonal ministers. Following closing worship on March 9, attendees will be able to tour the museum, an experience provided thanks to the gathering’s third platinum sponsor, Archway Communities, based in Denver. The Denver Art Museum is renowned for its collection of indigenous art from the Americas. With collections of more than 70,000 diverse works from across the centuries and the world, it is one of the largest art museums between Chicago and the West Coast. 

Denver Art Museum

“Archway Communities is excited that CHHSM’s 85th Annual Gathering will be in Denver this year,” said Sebastian Corradino, CEO. “Denver is a wonderful and welcoming city and we are pleased to have the chance to share our work with the CHHSM community and to nurture more connections with CHHSM. The Denver Art Museum Experience is a great opportunity for visitors to see one of our city’s cultural gems and meet Archway staff.”

Prior to the gathering, Archway also will sponsor a “mix and mingle” event March 6 at its Montview Manor located in Denver’s City Park neighborhood. “Guests will have an opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of City Park and the mountains in the distance from the beautiful gathering space on the 13th floor of the building.”

The Rev. Sue Artt, conference minister of the UCC’s Rocky Mountain Conference, echoes Corradino’s sentiments. “Here in the Rocky Mountain Conference, Archway Communities has built nearly 1,000 affordable living units for families,” Artt said. “Archway is a proud member of CHHSM, and as partners in ministry, the Rocky Mountain Conference is delighted to welcome CHHSM members to Denver at the foot of our majestic Rocky Mountains.”

Several CHHSM partners and friends are sponsoring many of the main activities during the Annual Gathering, including four of the main events. United Church Homes (UCH), based in Marion, Ohio, is sponsoring the welcome dinner March 7; the UCC Church Building & Loan Fund (CB&LF) is sponsoring the opening keynote address the morning of March 8; and United Church Funds (UCF) and the UCC Cornerstone Fund are sponsors of the CHHSM board’s business meeting and luncheon March 8. All four of the Gold Sponsors are long-time supporters of CHHSM and the Annual Gathering.

The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of UCH, places importance on the connections between UCC entities. UCH’s “membership and support of CHHSM continues to provide an important connection with similar organizations rooted in the history and theology of the United Church of Christ,” Daniel said. “From the staff leadership development through Nollau to the creative exchange of ideas, relationships and experiences with organizations both in and outside of our service sector, CHHSM helps us live our vision as a faith-inspired organization in an increasingly secular world.”

UCC ministries also is foremost in the mind of the Rev. Dr. Patrick G. Duggan, executive director of CB&LF. “There is so much about CB&LF that aligns with the CHHSM agencies,” he said. “Like CB&LF, CHHSM organizations represent the Gospel in the streets, the work of the church Monday through Saturday. For CB&LF, gathering with CHHSM agencies is an opportunity to be inspired by the work of co-laborers in Christ. CB&LF staff relishes the opportunity to engage with CHHSM agency personnel to learn best practices, share ideas, and explore possible collaborations. CHHSM’s excellence is contagious!”

For UCF, repeating as an Annual Gathering sponsor is “our way of recognizing and saying thanks to the many CHHSM agencies and institutions who are working ‘Together though Mountains and Valleys’ to touch people’s lives and create a just world for all,” said the Rev. Dr. Charles Buck, president and CEO. “We are also grateful for the many CHHSM members who have allowed us to help further their missions through financial stewardship of their investments and endowments.”

Maria Coyne, president and CEO of the UCC Cornerstone Fund, shared a similar view. “Cornerstone has annually supported CHHSM’s Annual Gathering because we so believe in the work they do and want to support their efforts,” she said. “They have always been good partners in ministry with Cornerstone Fund, and we look forward to continuing this relationship for years to come.”

Another repeat supporter is Silver Sponsor Pension Boards United Church of Christ, this year sponsoring the closing luncheon. They also will hold a workshop March 8. “The Pensions Boards is an enthusiastic sponsor of the Annual Gathering because we share CHHSM’s mission of service to the varied ministries and employees of the United Church of Christ in ways that create a more just, caring and compassionate world,” said Ruth Madison, executive vice president, benefit plans and services. “CHHSM is our valued partner I increasing the security and wholeness of whose we’re called to serve.”

In a unique collaboration, the UCC’s Rocky Mountain and Southern New England Conferences are co-sponsoring the closing plenary as a Silver Sponsor.

“The work of the conference is a tapestry between the local church, associations, and our covenant partners,” said the Rev. Darrell Goodwin, executive conference minister of the UCC Southern New England Conference. “The CHHSM agencies in the footprint of the Southern New England Conference help us to truly live out our collective mission of living the love and justice of Jesus in a more profound and tangible way. It is an honor to support an agency like CHHSM that makes these connections more seamless.”

Rocky Mountain Conference Minister Artt agreed. “The 21st century has brought a new and vibrant edge to the UCC’s call to ‘be the church,’” she said. “Even with the UCC’s long commitment to ministries of care and justice which reside outside the traditional local church, those ministries which serve our most vulnerable are even more essential today. CHHSM is the beating heart, the central hub of support, for these ministries across the denomination.”

The Annual Gathering’s Bronze Sponsors also make possible several gathering events. The UCC Insurance Board is sponsoring the welcome reception March 7. Care Purchasing Services (CPS) — the group purchasing agent behind the CHHSM Store — will sponsor the March 8 breakfast, along with one of its partners, Broad River Rehab, a company that delivers quality physical, speech and occupational therapy services to its clients based upon their individual needs, thanks to its knowledgeable and compassionate therapy team. Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix is a repeat sponsor, this time of the March 8 reception. Plymouth Place in La Grange Park, Ill., is sponsoring the March 9 breakfast, while Cedar Community of West Bend, Wis., is sponsoring a workshop during the gathering.

“The CHHSM Annual Conference is an event we look forward to attending and supporting,” said Timothy Harris, president and CEO of the UCC Insurance Board. “The exhibitors are limited, which allows for great networking and conversation with member participants. The setting fosters opportunities to enhance wonderful, lasting connections with colleagues, and build new friendships. As an ecumenical partner, Insurance Board values the occasion to advance its support of CHHSM through risk management offerings, insurance education, and resource sharing to strengthen the wider church body.

For CPS, a chance to partner with CHHSM once again is always welcome. “We have been in partnership with CHHSM for several years, and we value the impact CHHSM member have in their local communities carrying on critical mission,” said Quinn Adair, CHHSM’s customer services representative at CPS. “Ministry is a labor of love and sacrifice; thus, we understand the importance of the services delivered by the CHHSM membership and are honored to be a complement to such admirable work. We are thrilled to be actively present during this event and introduce our resources to your team.”

Nicole Pretre, CEO of Cedar Community, feels it’s important to be a contributing part of the Annual Gathering. “Cedar Community is honored to sponsor and support our partners in ministry through the CHHSM Annual Gathering,” Pretre said. “This event is an important opportunity to bring together in fellowship the amazing people, stories, and ideas of our collective work, as we advocate for those we serve.”

Returning sponsor Beatitudes Campus views its sponsorship as one more way to support other ministry partners. “Beatitudes Campus is proud to be a sponsor at CHHSM’s Annual Gathering,” said President and CEO Just. “Being a reception sponsor helps support the members for the UCC’s health and human service ministries and the incredible work they do We see the CHHSM community as partners and collaborators in our mission to serve. Together, we have been through the mountains and valleys through which God has gone with us, and together, we will pave the way for others to serve.”

As in past years, attendees will be able to keep track of the activities and events at the Annual Gathering through a user friendly app. Learn more about the Annual Gathering and register.

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