Reaping What We Sow

Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

It is autumn. The blood moon was glorious and harvest season is upon us. While assessing the bounty of the summer’s labor and preparing for winter, I think about the scripture from 2 Corinthians 9:6 – “But this [I say], they who soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and they who soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

This year has been one of sowing the seeds of hope for our CHHSM family. The work of maintaining our institutional integrity through good stewardship of resources, engaging deeply with membership and the wider church, and crafting the value proposition for membership promises to deliver a rich harvest of possibility for the future.

Likewise, the September gathering of the 2015 Nollau Institute class members was a testament to the wisdom and dedication of our future servant leaders in health and human service ministry. Their communal exploration of faith-based leadership is already beginning to bring great treasure to our shared ministry. Plan to attend their workshops at the CHHSM Annual Meeting in March for a glimpse of their collective wisdom.

The long history of servant leadership in the UCC and at CHHSM is well documented and recognized as one of our deepest gifts. A premier proponent of this was the Rev. Jerry W. Paul. Throughout his entire career, Jerry sowed the seeds of his wisdom, faith, commitment to CHHSM, and his servant leadership. We benefit from his generous spirit, with the bounty of the gifts he made to so many through his ministry, and his vision for service. In honor of the legacy of his gifts to our shared ministry, we are pleased to announce the renaming of the CHHSM scholarship as The Rev. Jerry W. Paul CHHSM Scholar program. Jamel Garrett will work closely with CHHSM staff, board and membership as he develops his own vision and plans for his future ministry serving those in the margins.

Every time we gather as a community – at the CHHSM annual meeting, as a board, in leadership formation work, as regional and service area affinity groups, and in the wider church – we are sowing seeds for future collaboration, sharing best practices, creating innovative means to serve, and reaping the collective wisdom of faith-based ministry.

Like the season of autumn, we reap what we have sown. Winter allows us to store the harvest so that we can sow in the spring what we have reaped. I look forward to seeing all of you in the months ahead so we can share in the harvesting and the planting of our shared ministry in health and human service.

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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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