The year 2014 has been one preparing for significant transformation for United Church Homes. This all converged over the span of two days this past February when three significant events took place illustrating the vibrancy of our ministry at United Church Homes.
First, the Board of Directors approved a new vision, mission and core values statement for the organization — the first substantive change to these elements in 15 years. The Vision-Mission-Values process has taken almost a year to finish and involved board, staff and residents. This document articulates the reasons why United Church Homes exists, what we look to accomplish, and what we consider as the essential spiritual and ethical concepts that shape our thoughts and actions. The details of this initiative can be found on pages 2–5.
Second, the Board of Directors authorized the strategic acquisition of three communities, all located within Ohio, which will transform United Church Homes and expand our senior living and healthcare mission and ministry by nearly 20 percent when the transactions are completed near the end of May. This is a sizeable undertaking that will add about 250 residents and employees to our family. It expands our impact on people and communities that will be new members of the UCH family. That we are ready, willing and able to pursue such a venture is an ambitious step in our history because it signals the dawn of a new era at United Church Homes, and positions us to consider further growth options in the future.
Just a few years ago, UCH was primarily concerned with surviving during a difficult time that the recession of 2008 triggered. That we are today in a position to expand our ministry once again speaks to the progress that has been made in a short period of time to rebuild our internal strength, employee engagement and organizational capacity. While it’s still somewhat premature to share details of these impending acquisitions, we are excited about our prospects for additional growth. We are exploring new opportunities and alliances with other like-minded organizations that are interested in aligning themselves with United Church Homes. Details will no doubt be forthcoming in subsequent issues of Spirit.
Finally, Ruth Frost Parker, the foremost donor in UCH history and the driving force behind the development of Parkvue Community and Parkvue Place in Sandusky, Ohio, passed away in February at the age of 92. We featured Mrs. Parker’s story a year ago in the Spring 2014 issue of Spirit magazine. Her generosity, vision and spirit will live on for years to come. She was a remarkable individual supporting many charitable causes beyond United Church Homes. We celebrate her life and her many contributions that have made UCH who we are today and where we will be going in the future. Please be sure to read our tribute to her on page 28.
This issue of Spirit also contains our 2014 Annual Report, a year in which the organization made significant progress to continue our legacy of care, excellence and compassion. We also want to acknowledge and recognize the more than 1,500 individuals whose willingness to contribute to our cause helps sustain our renewed vision and mission in our day-to-day efforts. We touch almost 5,000 lives each year in all of our settings across the country. And with your support and God’s abiding presence, we will touch even more in the year ahead. These are indeed exciting times for United Church Homes. We invite you to join us on our journey.