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Let’s Talk: About Annual Gathering Keynote

Annual Gathering is just two weeks away! I’m looking forward to seeing all of you in person and, for some, virtually as we gather at Sonoma State University.

I want to share additional information about our keynote address, which will be provided by The Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM) of the United Church of Christ.

To that end, I am sharing below the most recent correspondence I have received from Jamar Doyle, President and CEO of CHHSM, describing what he and Paula Barker, Senior Executive Assistant for Events and Administration, will share during their time with us. – Rev. Dr. Diane Weible, Conference Minister

Striving to achieve social justice is not new work for The Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM) of the United Church of Christ (UCC). The Mission of CHHSM is to advance the work of all health and human service ministries of the UCC to create a just, caring, and compassionate world.  Such a world cannot exist while white supremacy, racism, and anti-blackness continue to dominate policies, organizations, faith communities, cultural norms, beliefs, and daily life.

To that end, the CHHSM Board and staff felt compelled to deepen their resolve to address issues of Race, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (RDEI-J). In June 2020, CHHSM took a public stand against the pandemic of systemic racism, noting “how far we have to go to achieve CHHSM’s vision of creating a just world.” Unlike many recent statements against racism, the CHHSM statement ended with a commitment to a series of tangible steps to better fulfill the commitments of the CHHSM mission and values.

These tangible steps included:

  • An organizational RDEI-J assessment
  • Financial support of organizations centered on anti-racism work
  • Offering resources and programming on these topics

Additional actions have grown out of the original commitments, such as:

  • A resolution co-sponsored with COREM on racism as a public health crisis that was affirmed by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ in July 2021.
  • The development of “Reason to Have Hope,” a free online course based on the General Synod resolution available to anyone.
  • The establishment of a Board Standing Committee on Race, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice to guide this work and a dashboard to track progress

In this keynote address Jamar Doyle, CHHSM President and CEO, and Paula Barker, Senior Executive Assistant for Events and Administration, will talk about CHHSM’s RDEI-J journey, an internal, interpersonal, and external process that led to purposeful action steps.  In our discussion we will cover key aspects of our process, detail the learning that occurred along the way, and provide key resources for churches and organizations that are navigating their own RDEI-J path.

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