Written by Anthony Moujaes
After more than 20 years of leading the United Church of Christ's Council for Health and Human Services Ministries, the Rev. Bryan Sickbert has announced his retirement as president and CEO of the ministry at the end of 2014.
Sickbert made the announcement at the conclusion of CHHSM's 76th annual meeting, which took place Feb. 27 through March 1 in Arizona. His two main reasons for retiring are straightforward.
"I'm old enough and my financial advisor says I can," he said, and "after 22-plus years it is time for a new horse with fresh legs and youthful vision to ride into the future as I chase the sunset."
In Sickbert's letter to the CHHSM board, he wrote that from his perspective, "it is time to move to a new phase of life focused more fully on family, recreation, study and voluntary service … While I am proud of my service with CHHSM, I believe that the time has come for new leadership that will bring fresh vision to this ministry."
Sickbert has been CHHSM president and CEO since 1991. Asked what he is most proud of in his time as CHHSM's president and CEO, Sickbert offered two thoughts.
"The stewardship of the church and the CHHSM membership as I undertook the task of restoring CHHSM to financial health," he said. The second is "the willingness of the CHHSM community to support and participate in the programs we have developed that insure a continuous cohort of leaders to serve UCC health and human service ministries with professional excellence and faith-based purpose."
In more than two decades at the helm, Sickbert helped CHHSM become a vital voice for health and human service ministry of the church – both within the UCC and ecumenically. CHHSM launched programs that have successfully identified and developed more than 200 executive, management and pastoral leaders committed to CHHSM's mission to "sustain and advance the work of healing and service as a ministry of the church of Jesus Christ."
Sickbert earned his M.Div. degree from Chicago Theological Seminary, and an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Before joining CHHSM, he was the administrative resident and director of medical affairs for Good Samaritan and Bethany Hospitals in Chicago. He has also served as minister of mission at First United Church of Oak Park, Ill., and as director of housing rehabilitation for the Village of Oak Park.
The search for Sickbert's successor begins in the coming months as the executive committee of the CHHSM board forms a search committee of five to seven members. The Rev. Kenneth Daniel, a CHHSM board member and president and CEO of United Church Homes, will chair the search committee, while CHHSM board vice chair Bonnie Condon and executive committee member will also serve. The remaining member of the search committee will be appointed in the near future.