There’s a powerful theme coursing through this issue of Spirit magazine, one that connects the lives of individual residents with the legacy that’s being written every day by United Church Homes. The theme is both apparent and nuanced. With the passage of time comes change. At times the change is sudden and unexpected. Sometimes it’s subtle and predictable. But in all cases, changes occurring at UCH are certainly transformative.
This issue features two stories about residents who have also experienced significant change. Our cover story explores what happened with residents of Cypress Run, a UCH affordable housing community in Immokalee, Florida, who were so personally affected by the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake. For them, change was sudden and life-altering.
Another story profiles Tom and Donna Kerr, residents at Friendship Village of Columbus, a CCRC we began managing earlier this year. Dr. Kerr is president emeritus of Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, and was once one of the youngest university presidents in the country, while Donna enjoyed a career as an innovative educator. Their life changes were more gradual, but sustained.
Change will also define the year 2015 for United Church Homes as an organization, especially after we recently acquired two senior living communities in Marietta, Ohio — Glenwood Community and Harmar Place. This action represents the first strategic expansion of our ministry since 2011, and involves the addition of nearly 200 residents and staff to our UCH family. With other comparable initiatives already under consideration, and coupled with our recent securing of the management contract for Friendship Village of Columbus, we’re very excited about our prospects for more expansion in the near future.
United Church Homes also recently began its 100th year of providing services for seniors. We’re preparing now to mark our centennial celebration in Columbus, Ohio, on July 22–23, 2016. What began in 1916 as the kernel of an idea to provide for the care of seniors has evolved over the past century into a ministry that daily improves and transforms the lives of some 4,000 elders. Over the next year, we will be busily engaged in defining our history, while simultaneously positioning ourselves for the future. As you may have seen on a postcard delivered recently, “Something Grand is Being Planned.”
My, how United Church Homes has changed and transformed its ministry over time!
With that final thought in mind, we again want to express our gratitude and recognize those individuals and congregations whose efforts — as donors, volunteers and supporters — have so visibly affected our ministry over the past century. It is by their grace, and by the grace of God, that we prosper and grow. Oh, that we may continue to be so blessed!