by Jim Letourneau
In keeping with the theme of our annual conference, “Honoring the Gift,” the NACC business meeting honored and celebrated many people. Mary Lou O’Gorman opened the meeting honoring our new Board members: Mary Heintzkill and me (both elected members), and Brian Yanofchick and Sr. Margo Tafoya MSSP (both appointed members).
Executive Director David Lichter unveiled our new logo, designed by NACC member Tim Creech, which resembles the cross Catholics have imprinted on their foreheads every Ash Wednesday. The cross is formed by four arrows leading to a center square, a symbol of the wholeness and unity of the Church. A new website for NACC is in development to reflect the new look. NACC’s new tagline, “Continuing the Healing Ministry,” reminds us of the heart of our mission and the context of our vocation.
David then presented current statistics regarding finances and membership. Through the diligence and sacrifice of our members and the national office (as well as favorable investments!), NACC currently has a total of $1,095,333 in net assets. For everyone’s hard work, we are truly grateful!
But before we get too caught up in celebratory optimism, the sobering statistics regarding our membership remain a challenge. We are an aging association, with more than 65% of our members 60 years of age or older. Projections tell us that we will suffer a financial loss every year beginning in 2015 due to declining membership. Our net assets that we’ve worked so hard to build will slowly be exhausted. Clearly, we are at a threshold in the life of our beloved association. This sobering reality has been a key issue for David and the board over the last few years, and continues to be a focal point.
Board member Mary T. O’Neil celebrated all our members who have been in NACC at least 25 years. Their years of faithful service have made it possible for all of us to serve in this ministry. In the spirit of this year’s conference, we honor their gifts.
The meeting spent significant time engaging the membership with three key questions: What is one thing for which I am most grateful in my own or my team’s ministry? Looking to the future of chaplaincy, what is your greatest hope and greatest challenge? As NACC, what should be our future focus? Member feedback from these questions will inform the direction and decisions of the board moving forward.
The meeting provided a rich opportunity for NACC to honor the gifts of its members who continue the healing ministry. Look for a new NACC pin to arrive in your mailbox when you renew your membership this year!
Jim Letourneau, BCC, is director of mission and spirituality for Trinity Health in Livonia, MI.