One Year In

Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

As you read this issue of Diakonie, the CHHSM board is on its way to Cleveland to meet for the final time in 2015. This meeting is an important one for the life of our shared ministry. We will perform all of the regular fiduciary functions, hold an important education session, do some generative work in the area of strategic planning, and also assess my work in the first year of my tenure as president and CEO.

As I pulled my thoughts together and prepared to write this column, I refreshed my memory by re-reading all of the 2015 issues of Diakonie. It has been a remarkable year of personal and professional growth for me and the CHHSM staff, an incredible journey of engagement with our member organizations, a rewarding time of connection with the wider church and an important lesson in the life of a president and CEO of a faith-based ministry. Furthermore, it has been a year of exploring the relationship of our shared values.

I keep hearing the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent” as I write this column.

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure, measure a year?”

I reflect on how valuable each of those minutes are as we continue on the paths of our chosen vocations. I treasure the intersection of passion, mission, profession and vocation where my purpose lives. I am renewed and reinvigorated by the passion I see and feel every time I encounter our member organizations at work. I eagerly anticipate the passion I will experience in our future meetings and gatherings.

In measuring the past year, I counted 40 member site visits, 15 meetings with 175 senior staff of our member ministries, 10 board meetings with 125 volunteer leaders, 30 meetings with church members, conference ministers and association ministers, and seven meetings of the boards I am privileged to serve on with hundreds of outstanding leaders from all over the U.S. But much more important and treasured than the number of visits, meetings, gatherings and assemblies in this past year are the infinite number of things I have learned and experienced in these settings.

I have been given the gift of collective wisdom from so many dedicated servant leaders. These gifts have become part of my vision and my goals for the future. We are truly blessed in our shared faith-based ministry in CHHSM, the UCC and in the wider church.

This journey is just beginning and I hope you will all continue to stay engaged with your church partners, share your stories of ministry and maximize relationships with your covenant partners. Again, I invite you to join us on this adventure. I believe next year will be even better because of the work of the CHHSM board and staff, the wider church, our partners and all of you.

“It’s time now, to sing out.
Though the story never ends.
Let’s celebrate.
Remember a year in the life of friends.”

Thank you, friends.

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All are welcome to join our dear friend and former colleague, the Rev. George Graham, as he is installed as pastor of Pilgrim Congregational UCC in Cleveland. The service of installation will be live-streamed at pilgrimalive.org. ... See MoreSee Less
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