Year in Review
As 2022 comes to a close, I cannot believe that I have now been a part of the CHHSM family for almost a year. My, how time flies! To me, it seems like yesterday that I nervously stood in front of those gathered at the CHHSM Annual Gathering to hear my inaugural welcome address. That was just my sixth day on the job, and there I stood in front of over 100 people, eager to hear my vision for CHHSM’s future. Of course, I was still way too green to have a defined vision for CHHSM, so I shared my personal story and my desire to faithfully work with our members, partners, churches, and friends to support the holy work of our diverse organizations caring for those in need across our nation. As I now look back on this year, I am humbled by the accomplishments we’ve achieved together in such a short time:
Justice REDI Work (Justice, Race, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion)
At the March CHHSM Annual Meeting, the CHHSM board voted to form the board’s Justice REDI Committee. This standing committee works with the other Board committees, the CHHSM staff, and contract consultants to integrate CHHSM’s Justice REDI initiatives across the life of the organization. The formation of this committee is in response to CHHSM’s years long work to complete an equity audit, an ongoing process that guides our work towards becoming an anti-racist organization firmly committed to justice, inclusion and belonging. Additionally, CHHSM maintains the Anti-Racism and Advocacy sections of our website as resource centers free to all; we continue to make financial donations to community-based organizations that fight racism, and whenever possible, direct our purchasing to organizations led by individuals that represent traditionally marginalized communities.
Nollau Leadership Institute
The 17 members of the 2022-2023 class of the Nollau Leadership Institute began the year in retreat, held June 27-July 1 at the Cedar Valley Retreat Center in West Bend, Wis. The first of three retreats held during the year-long Institute, the June gathering focused on personal leadership growth and experiences. Our second retreat was held Oct. 23-28, and dealt with participants’ leadership development, focusing on leading through vulnerability, appreciative inquiry, leadership ethics, organizational change theories, and equity competent leadership, among other topics. The current Nollau class will conclude their journey with a one-day workshop at the CHHSM Annual Gathering in Denver, where they will be consecrated as Diakonal Ministers. CHHSM is currently accepting applications for the 2023-2024 class.
CHHSM also facilitated two Nollau To You day-long workshops. The first was in early August with the executive team at Good Samaritan Home in Evansville, Ind. The day focused on creating a foundation for change within both participants and the workplace. Our second Nollau To You, “Collaborating to Flourish,” was a one-day leadership retreat for the Heartland Conference held at the end of August. It was open to clergy and lay leaders in the conference, national UCC staff members, and CHHSM members affiliated with the conference. The day-long gathering was bracketed with worship, and included sessions on belonging and embodiment, sharing mission, and collaborating for justice.
The CHHSM/JLCM Fellowship concluded on June 30 of this year. The Fellowship was formed in the spring of 2021 with support from CHHSM, JLCM, and the Pension Boards. Essence Ellis served as the Fellow and during her fellowship year, she made a significant impact through her work in reproductive justice and advocacy. This work culminated in the creation of Reproductive Justice Messaging Toolkits for areas with extreme, or “trigger,” laws that have been enacted following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Rev. Jerry Paul Scholar
After reviewing a stellar pool of applicants, Dr. Zaria Davis, a student at Eden Theological Seminary, was selected as the new Rev. Jerry Paul Scholar. She will complete her M.Div. degree in late 2023 and comes to CHHSM with an amazing array of skills and experiences that have already proved valuable to the work of CHHSM and our organizations. Zaria will present a workshop on Restorative Justice in the Workplace at CHHSM’s Annual Gathering in March 2023.
Emerging Leadership Cohort
Our new Emerging Leadership Cohort will launch in June of 2023. This is a scholarship program that supports seminarians and recent graduates to integrate and engage their experiences in health and human services in new ways through a faith-based perspective, structure, and community. This one-year program is comprised of enrollment in the Nollau Leadership Institute, monthly individual and group mentoring, networking with CHHSM organizations and UCC Health and Wholeness Ministries, participation in the CHHSM Annual Gathering, and engagement with CHHSM’s Board of Directors and Affinity Groups. Although this program is titled “Emerging Leadership,” it does not presume that what is emerging for the cohort participants is their leadership for the first time. Rather, the focus is on what emerges for them when they are able to fully bring their faith, spirituality, and passion for social justice into their health and human services work and leadership.
CHHSM Annual Gathering
Registration opens Friday, Dec. 16, for CHHSM’s 2023 85th Annual Gathering, which will be held in Denver at the Hilton City Center from Tuesday, March 7, through Thursday, March 9. Our time together will be filled with spirited worship, powerful speakers, and dynamic workshops all centered on the theme “Together through Mountains and Valleys” — reflecting on the ways that God has gone with us through the mountains and valleys the past several years and calls us to work together to prepare the way for others. A limited number of scholarships are available for registration and/or hotel costs for people who would not be able to attend otherwise, especially first-time attendees. Requests for a scholarship will be considered in the order they are received until funds are committed. The deadline for early bird registration is Jan. 13, so you’ll want to register early to save.
These are just some of CHHSM’s key accomplishments in 2022, achievements that would not have been possible without our staff and board and their genuine passion and love for service. I remain grateful for God’s call to CHHSM and honored to work with this team as we collectively breathe life into our mission, creating a more just, caring, and compassionate world. Here’s to a great 2022 and the amazing things yet to come in 2023!
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