Annual Conference Committee on Health and Welfare

1979 Church of the Brethren Report

To this Conference the Annual Conference Committee on Health and Welfare (ACCHW) presents its final report. An accounting of our stewardship is in order.

In 1972, Annual Conference created the seven-member Committee on Health and Welfare as a permanent committee. The Conference mandate to the Committee included responsibilities of presenting health and welfare concerns to the Annual Conference, coordinating common concerns and programs between Brethren institutions, conducting research into health and welfare ministries, serving as liaison between our denomination and others, reviewing socio-medical ethical concerns, and reporting to each Conference on the status of Brethren health and welfare ministries. These and other appropriate responsibilities the Committee has fulfilled, some with satisfying effectiveness, others less effectively.

Persons who have served on the Committee include those listed at the close of this report, plus Gerald Roller, MD, whose term expired in 1978, and Raymond R. Peters whom the Committee chose as its first Executive Secretary and who served in that assignment from 1974 to 1977 when Harvey S. Kline was employed in that capacity. Larry Ulrich was the Committee’s Chairman from 1972 to 1976 and Harold Fasnacht since then.

The major function of the Committee’s Executive Secretary has been to serve as consultant to The Church of the Brethren Homes and Hospitals Association (TCBHHA) institutions, their executives and Boards of Directors, and coordinating various activities of the Committee. His expenses have been underwritten by contributions from the Homes and Hospitals.

The Committee feels especially good about the improvement in working relationships and collegiality among TCBHHA representatives, the cooperation and mutual helpfulness between the General Board Staff and the Committee, and the encouraging response of Conference to our Annual Reports. As a part of ACCHW’s report each year, a number of Insight Sessions have lifted up health and welfare concerns. With funds donated by the Brethren Health and Welfare Association (BHWA), several research projects have been funded and monitored. The Committee, has, through individual member representation, participated in numerous health and welfare seminars and conferences, both private and governmental, and reports made to the appropriate bodies. The Committee has been close to, and given counsel in, both the Bethany Hospital Development Program and the Greenville, Ohio, Brethren’s Home problems, and given counsel sought by various adjudications considering the organization of new institutions or the expansion of existing ones. Members of the Committee have regularly attended the Annual Protestant Health and Welfare Assembly and shared frequently with officers of TCBHHA. Attendance at the three annual meetings of the Committee (twenty-one in all) has been almost unanimous.

One very important aspect of the Committee’s work has involved cooperative relationships with the several other voluntary Brethren health and welfare agencies: TCBHHA, BHWA, the Brethren Health Education Foundation (BHEF), and the ongoing program activities of the Staff in the General Offices. The Annual Conference assignment to ACCHW was that of policy. The General Board Staff is involved in program as well. In recent years, as ACCHW’s almost unlimited opportunities for service unfolded, it seemed that the whole expanding field of health and welfare within the Brethren arena could best be served if it were coordinated and directed within General Board Staff, just as other aspects of program are conducted.

As a result, we reported to you last year in Indianapolis, that at ACCHW’s initiation, numerous joint consultations among TCBHHA, BHWA, BHEF, Staff persons, Parish Ministries Commission Executives, the General Board, and ACCHW were held. Consequently, a joint recommendation to the 1978 Conference was brought by the General Board and ACCHW to place all the 1972 Annual Conference mandate to ACCHW within the Parish Ministries Commission and assignment made to a specific staff person therein by January, 1979. The recommendation included dismissal of ACCHW following this, its final, report. The PMC was unable to fill the personnel assignment by January and by mutual agreement between the Commission and ACCHW, our Committee has continued its responsibilities until this Conference.

Members of the Committee individually and corporately express appreciation for the many rewarding insights, experiences, and growth opportunities that have been ours. Likewise, we are indebted to representatives of all those Brethren health and welfare agencies mentioned elsewhere in this report for their support and encouragement. There is little doubt that across the Brotherhood there is a new groundswell of interest in health and welfare concerns. This is an appropriate time for those concerns to be included and implemented within General Board program.

Harold D. Fasnacht, Chairman; Hazel Peters, Secretary; William H. Cable; Ira Oren; Leona Zigler Row; Larry K. Ulrich; Harvey S. Kline, Executive

Action of 1979 Annual Conference: The report was presented by Harold D. Fasnacht with members of the committee present. Through directive action of the 1978 Annual Conference, the mandate from the 1972 Annual Conference to the Annual Conference Committee on Health and Welfare (MINUTES OF ANNUAL CONFERENCE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN 1970-74, pages 236-244) has been placed with the General Board. A general staff position in the Parish Ministries Commission has been developed to relate to health and welfare ministries (1978 ANNUAL CONFERENCE MINUTES, page 468). The report was accepted. The Annual Conference Committee on Health and Welfare was discharged with expressions of appreciation for the cooperative and successful accomplishment of its assignment through the years of work.