Three Great Loves

Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

As summer approaches and our UCC minds start to focus on Conference Annual Meetings and the 2017 General Synod in Baltimore, I am compelled to ask you to consider participating in the UCC initiative “Three Great Loves.”  While there are many things we all love, this is the time where we are called to set aside personal needs and political differences and give something meaningful back to the world before us.  What better way than to celebrate our Love for Children, our Love for our Neighbors and our Love for the Earth.

As I think about the ways CHHSM can collectively lift up these three great loves, I hope you personally and/or your organization will consider joining this initiative as a service project, a commitment to social justice, a church mission initiative or a conscientious commitment to your social accountability portfolio. Each individual and organization may choose to do this in their own way but I believe that the CHHSM family can have a major impact on the UCC’s collaborative response to this call for servant leadership.

The Rev. John Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President, recently posted this request in the UCC newsletter:

“Every setting of the United Church of Christ is invited to make two commitments: First, discover ways in which you can engage the members of your faith community in mission that serves the needs of children, responds to the suffering of your neighbor, and/or honors the call to be good stewards of God’s creation. Second, find a way to narrate the impact of your commitment and tell the story to the rest of the denomination. We will create a web presence that archives and details not just the stories of your shared mission in this collective effort, but the details about the difference these commitments make. Begin today talking with your board, council, consistory, deacons, youth group or any other relevant body about what you are willing to do to demonstrate a love for children, a love for neighbor, and a love for Creation. We believe an entire denomination that is willing to engage in an extended time of mission to serve these “Three Great Loves” can change the world. We know that your part in this mission matters – no matter where you are located or how large or small your community is.” 

Love for children can be so many things but it is the core of the future of this denomination and our world.  The Dalai Lama said that compassion is key to childhood development and lasting peace. How about that for a starting point? Then perhaps move from compassion to supporting literacy initiatives, easing poverty, eliminating hunger and supporting education efforts.

Love for our neighbors is the first step in repairing the damage from a contentious and divisive political campaign on every level. Create a gracious space where you can invite the stranger into your life and be open to listening, learning and sharing. This type of environment opens the door to collaboration and collective intelligence that supports charities, advocacy issues and shows the way to build bridges instead of walls.

Love for the earth is a commitment to keep this planet clean and safe for future generations. Doing your part to support clean water and air legislation, reduce carbon footprints, participate in reforestation efforts and recycle are just some examples of how you can make the world nicer today and sustainable for those who follow us.

What will you and/or your organization do to show your Love for children, neighbors and the earth?  It is up to you, but please consider doing something and then share your story of the impact so we can collectively show the world what we can do as the UCC family, together.

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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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