The UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries announced today (Jan. 6) that enrollment for the 2020-2021 class of its Nollau Leadership Institute is now open.
“The Nollau Leadership Institute helps participants focus on spiritual formation and preparation for serving leadership,” says Michael J. Readinger, CHHSM president and CEO. “As CHHSM’s signature program, the Nollau Institute is now more than 20 years old. We are blessed to be able to offer it to our UCC colleagues, partners, and friends.”
The Institute’s year-long program helps class members discern their call as Diakonal Ministers. A special vocation for serving leaders within CHHSM members and the wider United Church of Christ, Diakonal Ministers advance the health and service ministry of Jesus Christ. Since 1996, more than 180 CHHSM leaders have been consecrated as Diakonal Ministers, part of the close to 300 consecrated from all denominations.
The new class begins in May 2020. Class sessions include three in-person retreats, small group calls, and online dialogue and readings in-between. Members of the class will be consecrated as Diakonal Ministers during closing worship of CHHSM’s 83rd Annual Gathering, which takes place March 2-4, 2021.
“Each year, Nollau faculty members take great care to update the topics covered, taking guidance from our outgoing class and CHHSM’s Diakonal Minister community,” Readinger adds. “The program is highly interactive, with participants helping to design their program, assisting in facilitating sessions, and mentoring each other.”
The Nollau Leadership Institute is built around three major themes encompassing the theology, practice and product — forming faithful cultures — of serving leadership.
During the class year, one aspect of serving leadership that participants explore is the link between leadership and advocacy. To that end, newest faculty member the Rev. Elyse Berry, CHHSM’s associate for advocacy and leadership development, looks forward to her role with the Institute.
“One of the main emphases in my work with CHHSM is in helping make those connections between advocacy and leadership. To discern a call to serving leadership is to commit to advocating with and for those we serve,” Berry says. “This connection provides a unique perspective on leadership training and helps to imagine and express what it means to be a leader in a faith-based organization. CHHSM’s vision is to create a more just, caring, and compassionate world, and so learning about what advocacy can look like in leadership, no matter what your role is, centers us on that shared vision.”
Nollau graduates leave the program with a better understanding of how their faith calls them to lead. As graduate Jennifer Hawley, senior clinical supervisor for UCC-related Orion Family Services in Madison, Wis., reflects, “Nollau has really pushed me to take a deeper look into my mission as a servant leader. It challenged me to think about my role and how I want to support the people I lead. It asked the question, ‘What is my purpose?’ I discovered that my role [at Orion] is to help others see their potential. … I am so grateful for this experience and I took away more than I would have imagined.”
Retreat dates for the upcoming class are May 5-7, 2020; Sept. 22-24, 2020; and Jan. 12-14, 2021. All retreats take place at the Retreat Center at Cedar Valley, a CHHSM member in West Bend, Wis.
Space is limited to 21 participants, and fills up quickly, so early applications are strongly encouraged. The application is available online.