CHHSM looks to the future at 76th annual meeting in Arizona
Written by Anthony Moujaes
February 28, 2014

When the United Church of Christ's Council for Health and Human Services Ministry celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, CHHSM leadership promised another strong 75 years of service. At the 76th annual meeting this month, CHHSM will explore that future with two keynote speakers guiding the gathering through discussions of cross-generation diversity and non-profit fundraising.

The theme of the 2014 annual meeting, which takes place from Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, March 1 in Scottsdale, Ariz., is "Behold! I am Doing a New Thing: Embracing the Future." The Rev. Bryan Sickbert, CHHSM CEO and president, believes the gathering with members, covenantal partners, leaders, is a time to discover what those "new things" are and how they might guide the ministry.

"Our calling is to discern the new things that are of God and the new things that are of the temporal market-driven health and human service system within which we must carry out our ministry," Sickbert said.

As the healing arm of the UCC, CHHSM's challenge is to explore various ways it is called to serve — in all aspects of health beyond the latest medical trends and debates about health care.

"Surely God's work is not embodied in health care reform, though it provides some tools we can employ toward God's ends," Sickbert added. "Surely God's work is not embodied in advances in medical science, though we will leverage those advances to alleviate suffering where we can.  God's future and the future of CHHSM's diaconic mission is the 'new thing' we cannot imagine, quantify or buy and sell.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit in every human life.  Our challenge is to perceive it."

There are two keynote speakers for the meeting who will share ways to embrace the future in their presentations. The Rev. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, director of the UCC's Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD), will discuss intergenerational diversity in nonprofit settings the morning of Friday, Feb. 28. The next day, Saturday, Feb. 29, Nancy Beard will speak about the future of development for nonprofits. Beard is president and CEO of United Church Homes and Service Foundation, another UCC-affiliated ministry.

"My hope is that organizations will become more aware of the areas they can build upon with regard to generational diversity," Lizardy-Hajbi said of her keynote address. "We talk about racial diversity and sexual diversity, but this has an important role to play in the workplace."

Lizardy-Hajbi explained that four generations exist simultaneously in the modern workplace, with more than one-third of adults ages 18-31 living with their parents. Many baby boomers and people born before 1943 are working past their retirement age.

"We as a church are skewed to older generations with membership and leadership," Lizardy-Hajbi said. "I think for future viability, mentoring the Generation Xers and Boomers to make sure the Millenials are successful is important if we are going to live out the theme of 'Doing a New Thing.'"

Her keynote will offer insight on generational differences, the characteristics of the four generations in today's workplace: Traditionalists (those born before 1943), Boomers (born between 1943-1960), Generations Xers (born in the 1960s and 70s) and Millenials (born in the 1980s and 1990s). Lizardy-Hajbi will share ways to build on the strength of those four groups for organizations intent on nurturing intergenerational cultures. She will also encourage participants to reflect on the intergenerational dynamics within their own workplaces and will offer strategies to embrace those differences.

"These generations have such different experiences that shaped them, and I'll talk about that, the way the Great Depression shaped Traditionalist, and how Millenials are shaped by changes in technology, and what that brings to the workplace," Lizardy-Hajbi said. "Part of this is breaking down barriers between the generations and showing that each group brings something to an organization."

Beard's remarks will center on the energy for fundraising, and she promises an experience that will enlighten attendees about the future of fund development for nonprofit organizations. Lizardy-Hajbi and Beard will each lead two of the three workshops at the meeting for those interested in future opportunities of being a faith-based nonprofit.

CHHSM is an affiliate of the UCC whose ministry is around healing and service, from small care centers to hospital networks. In total, the organization serves more than 1 million people. More information about the highlights of the 76th Annual meeting are posted on the CHHSM website.

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