Multiple Workshop Options Guarantee Meaningful Annual Gathering

The Annual Gathering takes place in St. Louis, and promises to be filled with inspiring workshops.

Among the highlights of CHHSM’s Annual Gathering — to be held March 12-14, 2024, in St Louis — are the inspired and educational workshops offered by CHHSM members, friends, and partners. This year is no exception, as workshop leaders explore innovative avenues of collaboration through a variety of topics, from restorative racial justice to financial well-being for organizations, from leadership skills to resources for outreach, and from healing the healers to grassroots movements that build trust.

“Thanks to our members, partners, and friends, this year’s workshops are among the most varied and creative offerings of the Annual Gathering,” said Jamar Doyle, president and CEO of CHHSM. “There are many options to choose from, ensuring  a meaningful experience for all attendees.”

The workshops take place at various times Wednesday, March 13, and Thursday, March 14. Annual Gathering attendees have a choice of workshops in each time slot.

Kicking off this year’s workshops are three that take place Wednesday morning:

  • I Need You to Survive: Collaborative Care for Restorative Racial Justice, facilitated by Dr. Sharon Fennema, the UCC’s “Join the Movement” curator and storyteller, and Dr. Velda Love, the UCC’s minister for racial justice and lead for the “Join the Movement” campaign, which works toward racial justice. The workshop introduces attendees to the understandings and practices of collaborative care, from storytelling to co-regulation. These tools are important in sustaining those in antiracism work, in order to develop groundbreaking movements for racial justice that are healing and restorative.

    “We all have a role to play in expanding our practices of antiracism and strengthening our capacities as partners and participants in the burgeoning racial justice movements of our time,” said Fennema. “Learning to care for and nourish ourselves and each other is an essential part of the journey toward racial justice. Racial justice cannot be separated from healing justice. We are excited to learn together how to create and participate in movements that can be restorative, grounding, and life-giving even as we struggle against the death-dealing forces of racism.”

    “We hope that participants will return to their communities, ministries and work better equipped to care collaboratively for their whole selves and nurture their souls as part of the movement toward racial justice,” she added, “so that we can all sustain this transformational work as a life-long vocation, until justice comes.”
Judge Nikki Starr, CHHSM Emerging Leadership Cohort Member.
  • Safe, Sober, and Spiritual: Treatment Courts. Led by CHHSM Emerging Leadership Cohort member Nikki Starr, a judge in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District and a seminary student at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

    The workshop examines the concept of treatment courts — an innovative way of rehabilitating the whole person; the limits of establishing spirituality in public spaces; and the ways in which spirituality can be part of living a safe and sober life.
  • Financial Innovation through Collaboration. Led by Stacey Pettice, institutional relationships executive, and Matthew Wagner, vice president of institutional relationships, of United Church Funds; and the Rev. Dr. Courtney Stange-Tregear, chief relationship officer, UCC Cornerstone Fund. This workshop invites attendees to discover innovative ways the Financial Ministries of the UC are collaborating to support the short- and long-term growth of financial assets of CHHSM members. UCF will look at strategically building sustainable and responsible investment portfolios that align with CHHSM members’ values and mission statements, and Cornerstone will share ways CHHSM members can expand ministry and create impact through its investing program.

    “Gone are the days of going alone,” said Stange-Tregear. “Especially as organizations are needing to do more with less resources, the Cornerstone Fund offers an opportunity for investors and borrowers alike to expand the reach and impact of their ministries.”

    Pettice looks forward to participating in the workshop with Stange-Tregear. “We are excited to share the many ways the Financial Ministries of the UCC are collaborating to serve and expand CHHSM organizations,” she said. “Attendees will leave this workshop well equipped to leverage the United Church Funds investment platform to grow their assets for greater mission and ministry.”

Following the afternoon plenary panel discussion, three more workshops will be offered:

  • Leader as Coach, led by the Rev. Dr. Diane Weible, owner of Enkei Resolutions. Coaching is about asking questions, not about having all the answers. This workshop will provide introductory coaching skills for organizational leaders, as well as practice opportunities.

    “Too often, we look to leaders to have all the answers. A coaching model for conversations turns that notion upside down and invites us to show up to a conversation without having the answers or even necessarily knowing where the conversation will lead,” said Weible. “Trusting in the other person to know what is best for them … means we can use the tools of curiosity and powerful questions to help them discover new awareness. Attendees will leave this workshop with a new model for approaching conversations and a new love for powerful questions. These tools will allow them to lead in a way that promotes a strong team and creates a culture of collaboration where all members of the team feel their contribution to the mission is valued.”
  • Intergenerational Supports for LGBTQ+ Members, led by the Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, director of the Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Living of United Church Homes, and Sherrill Wayland, senior director of special initiatives and partnerships for SAGE, Advocacy and Services for LGBTQ+ Elders. Developing relationships across generations is a powerful way to promote mental, social, and spiritual health, particularly among those in the LGBTQ+ community. This workshop will look at resources and examples of programs that are helpful for those whose primary mission is with older adults or those organizations who serve children and youth, or congregations who welcome all generations.

    “As United Church Homes has been on a journey to be Open and Affirming of those in the LGBTQ+ community, we know of multiple conversations which have been helpful as connections across generations,” said Long-Higgins. “From residents who are grandparents who want to know more about what it means to be LGBTQ+  in order to support their grandchildren, to the need for younger generations to know older LGBTQ+ folk in order to envision with hope their own aging process, we will share from these experiences resources to generate these conversations, and hear of the experiences of those who attend the workshop.”
  • Imagine Together: How can CHHSM and Congregations Grow Generous Donors, with the Rev. Thad Austin, Ph.D., vice president of philanthropy, EveryAge, and the Rev. Andrew Warner, UCC generosity outreach officer and Wisconsin Conference UCC director of development. This interactive conversation workshop will explore the latest data on charitable religious giving, theological approaches to generosity, and the latest resources available. Thinking beyond the immediacy of an appeal, the workshop will explore practical ways to collaboratively nurture a long-term personal imperative to giving as an act of faithfulness and diving calling along with specific calls to action.

    “At our interactive workshop, attendees will explore how CHHSM and local congregations can grow generous donors,” said Austin. “We take an asset-based approach. Andrew and I believe that God has given us everything we need to be effective in our ministries. Attendees will leave with a basic framework, essential tools, and creative ideas to lead more effectively. We will explore the latest data on the topic, but move beyond statistics to identify practical net steps we can take together.”

The final three workshops take place Thursday morning:

  • Healing When Called to Heal, Dr. Zaria Davis, M.Div., CHHSM’s engagement coordinator and current Emerging Leadership Cohort member. Davis’ workshop will discuss challenges for people in the helping professions, including secondary trauma in the workplace, will explore how organizations and individuals can respond. The workshop will include a small healing circle.

    When they leave the workshop, “I hope that members will go back to their organizations, speak with their teams in regard to improving policies and practices, and implement practice within their agencies to support and care for employees,” Davis said.
  • Collaborative Success Team members from the Pension Boards United Church of Christ (PBUCC) and the Generations United Federal Credit Union (GUFCU). This workshop will address the multi-faceted approach to financial wellness and security tailored specifically for ministers, lay workers and essential caregivers within care institutions, and introduce the important function that Generations United Federal Credit Union, which received its charter from the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) in 2023, will serve. The hope is that every participant — whether an employer looking to enhance employee benefits or an individual seeking personal financial security — has a clear vision of how they can achieve financial stability and security with offerings PBUCC provides today, and products GUFCU will provide in the future.

    “The creation of the credit union grew in part out of a resolution adopted in 2017 by the [UCC] General Synod … that identified “the need for financial services to the historically underbanked or unbanked, as well as to victims of extortionate alternative financial-service industry models,” said John Linzey, GUFCU president and CEO. “Generations United Federal Credit Union will be available for all clergy, employees, congregants, and organizations in covenant with the UCC, including their families … like the many entities within CHHSM.”
  • Collaborative Grassroot Strategies Centered on Trust Building, Kyle Schnurbusch, director of content and technology for Magnetize. This workshop will cover ways stakeholders can collaborate to develop and execute a grassroots campaign, including preparation, fundraising tools, messaging, campaign toolkits, internal communications, and engaging “outside influencers.”

    “Organizations must be creative to build awareness and grow meaningful engagement among new supporters in today’s philanthropic landscape,” said Schnurbusch. Because of the workshop, “CHHSM members will have a better understanding of how to facilitate a process that helps stakeholders share their voices for mission and make asks to people in their orbit.”

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