Blessed be the tie that binds

Dozens of people including Pilgrim Manor staff, former board members and others attended the service. The covenant service is a new tradition that welcomes new communities into the UCH family.

Leaders from Pilgrim Manor’s supporting congregations, the Michigan Conference and Grand Valley Association of the United Church of Christ, UCH staff and Board Members thanked God for growing United Church Homes’ mission and helping the expanding organization serve more people.

Denise Rabidoux, president and CEO of Evangelical Homes of Michigan (EHM) Senior Solutions, a sister UCC-related senior care ministry, also participated in the ceremony. EHM Senior Solutions and United Church Homes are members of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries of the United Church of Christ, an organization for which I began serving as board chair this year.

The covenant service celebrates our family of communities and reflects that Pilgrim Manor is not being absorbed into United Church Homes. It’s becoming one of our communities with its own history and legacy in Grand Rapids.

During the service, colorful ribbons were added to a cloth weaving that symbolized the unique history and culture of both organizations as well as the new relationship and covenant between Pilgrim Manor and United Church Homes.

United Church Homes’ mission is to transform Aging by building a culture of community, wholeness and peace. The weaving of the fabric symbolized the growth of our organization, our fellowship and the larger community of United Church Homes.

With the addition of Pilgrim Manor in Michigan and Harmony Apartments in Minnesota, United Church Homes now serves more than 4,500 residents in 70 communities and two Native American tribal nations. Michigan expands UCH’s operations to 14 states.

This issue of Spirit is about community, which is an essential component of United Church Homes. Individuals can live together, but if they don’t care for one another, about one another or support one another, then it’s not a true community, according to Christian values.

United Church Homes works to create living environments that advocate for justice, are inclusive, respectful of diversity and embody the love of God.

Just as Jesus referred to the church as the “blessed community,” United Church Homes follows the mandate of Christ to bring together people who share love and a common life. By doing this, our goal is to bring dignity, respect, care and compassion to each person in all UCH communities.

Woven together by Christ’s abiding love, United Church Homes reflects this expanding tapestry of color and hearts bound together in blessed ties that never can be broken.