Rev. Dr. Kiewit said he isn’t easily surprised, but he was surprised to receive this honor 72 years after his ordination.
“Thank you very much for all that you’ve done for me and all that you’ve given me this evening. I love you all,” Rev. Dr. Kiewit said.
The award comes after decades of supporting Chapel Hill residents. Rev. Dr. Kiewit first contributed to United Church Homes through his church when he was 17 years old, and his parents lived their final years at Chapel Hill Community. In the intervening years, he visited many parishioners who were residents of the community during his ministry in three congregations in eastern Ohio.
After his retirement from pastoral ministry in the 1990s, Rev. Dr. Kiewit joined the UCH Board of Directors, where he served as chair. He has also served as board chair for 22 of UCH’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) communities, marking his relationship with the organization for over seven decades and his leadership surpassing the 25-year mark.
In 2001, Rev. Dr. Kiewit and his wife, Dorothy, were the 25th and 26th residents to move into Kroft Commons at Chapel Hill Community, where he has been a resident leader in the community in numerous ways — resident council president, donor and pastor to residents — and continues to sit on a UCH housing board. He is also the honorary chair for UCH’s Campaign for Abundant Life.
Together with his late wife, Rev. Dr. Kiewit supported the work at the Family Village Farm near Vellore, India, a United Church of Christ-related ministry providing homes for children and work for older adults. Rev. Dr. Kiewit has helped the residents of Chapel Hill connect with this ministry and for the past several years, residents collectively sponsor a child at the farm.
The award is named after the late Rev. Dr. Robert Diller, who began his service on the Board of Directors in 1945. Over the next 31 years, he helped move the organization from a single location that served 125 residents to include five communities serving over 800 individuals. He was named the first president and CEO of United Church Homes after serving as the superintendent of Fairhaven Community in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, from 1955–1964.
The new award honors those whose service to United Church Homes exemplifies high levels of vision, perseverance and faith. A legacy leader’s contribution makes a lasting impact, resulting in the significant expansion of the mission and realization of the vision, “where the Spirit creates Abundant Life in Community.”