We recently announced the next step in expanding our ministry — the addition of Pilgrim Manor in Grand Rapids, Michigan (see pages 6–7). This development is important on multiple levels. It is occurring primarily because of long-standing bonds that both entities share with the United Church of Christ, and thus reflects a unique alignment of cultures. It provides UCH with a foothold in a new state. And it marks the first of many affiliations we expect will take place in the future as changing dynamics in the senior living environment encourage organizations to seek strength in numbers.
We also celebrated the centennial of our founding with a two-day observance in Columbus (see pages 2–3 and pages 10–20). This grand event, which featured activities and presentations, workshops, and a worship service, provided attendees with a glimpse into the role that United Church Homes fulfills today, as well as a hint of the possibilities that may lie ahead. It also afforded us the opportunity to recall that we are heirs of a great and far-reaching legacy, with an obligation to pay that legacy forward to future generations.
There was a moment at our Centennial Celebration dinner when the noble ideas for which UCH stands collided with powerful underlying emotions in a spectacular display of achievement and potential. At one point we aired our Community video (which you can see at unitedchurchhomes.org), and the audience’s spontaneous response — thundering applause, raucous cheering, the room exploding with excitement — was both stimulating and intoxicating. Despite not having been shown in a public venue for nearly one year, the video’s unique mix of music, messaging, and imagery sparked an organic release of energy. I was overwhelmed. It captured the essence of how far we had come, and was a reminder of how much further we can, and must, go.
Such is the nature of our journey. While no one can know what the world will look like 100 years from now, we all know that it will be different, much different, than what we see today. We are witnessing the dawn of our next century.
It is to this second century that we pledge our unwavering engagement. Our mission to transform aging extends beyond, far beyond, simply doing our best. The new Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging (see pages 4–5) was established to facilitate this transformation — to inform the discussion, to shape the policies, to make what seems impossible today become possible tomorrow. Taking this path will require a steady hand, a strong voice, a renewed vigor.
And yet we head in this uncharted direction, not because it is easy, but because it is hard — and because it is right. This is our continuing call to a century-old mission that goes on in exciting new ways.