Honoring Those Who Served Before Us

In these Christian festival days of All Saints, All Souls, and for some of us, days of remembering the dead (Dia de los Muertos), I reflect and honor the gifts of legacy. I recall with fondness and love the impact of friends, family, and loved ones whose lives deeply influence and shape who we are. Just as people influence us individually, we give thanks for the ways that people leave tremendous legacies of compassion, leadership, and vision within church communities and faith organizations. As a member of NBA’s Board of Trustees, we know there are many beloved lives that have served as “clouds of witnesses” for NBA ministries.

In this year, some of the witnesses that we fondly remember include former NBA staff Arthur Buell, Cheryle Dyle-Palmer, Cynthia Dougherty, and Richard “Dick” Savage. As NBA, we also acknowledge and give thanks for the generous legacy of individuals who have given to NBA through planned and estate gifts. Some of these friends include Hardin, Bonnie, Ruth, Helen, Mary Frances, and Jane to name only a few. Their years of work and their financial gifts for the ministries of compassion and care have made a transformative impact on the lives of people that NBA serves.

During her tenure with NBA, Cheryle helped build and significantly develop NBA’s services to children and youth. Cheryle’s work involved enhancing the direct care provided through such efforts as securing national accreditation for each nonprofit and supporting the transition from historic residential programs to community-based programming for at-risk youth and children. There’s no denying that the work that Cheryle started still lives on today at the NBA through our Incubate Initiative and work with nonprofits such as HER Faith Ministries and QC Family Tree.

Both Arthur Buell and Dick Savage served as longtime development and fundraising officers for the NBA. Additionally, Arthur’s skills in marketing and communications enabled him to offer leadership on such projects as NBA’s centennial history titled, In As Much: the Saga of NBA. Arthur and Dick nurtured friends and supporters who gave generously to strengthen the ministries of NBA. I can only imagine the endless cups of coffee and tea or shared meals that they had in homes and places all across the country. I am awed by the ways they shared the stories of NBA and inspired so many individuals, and churches to give. As a Trustee and NBA supporter, I recognize that NBA simply cannot do what we do without consistent, generous gifts from those who support and believe in our mission.

We honor, celebrate and give thanks for these saints and many others who have contributed to NBA ministries. We ask you to consider: Who was a member of your “cloud of witnesses” that you remember fondly? Is there someone that has made transformative impact in your own life that you are thinking of today? Is there someone that you want to remember and honor in these sacred days of all saints and all souls? We do not do this work of compassion and care alone yet in community together including the legacy of those that have passed on. Won’t you join me during these days of honoring those who have come before us by making a gift in honor of these saints and souls?  Your generosity allows us to go on accompanying health and social service projects, organizations and leaders who do amazing work each day.

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Cindy Kim Hengst currently serves as Chair of the NBA Board of Trustees and has served as a Trustee since 2015. She has been an active member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for more than 20 years serving in leadership roles with Global Ministries, North American Pacific Asian Disciples (NAPAD), Week of Compassion, and with regional ministries.

As the health and social services general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the National Benevolent Association partners with congregations, regions, general ministries, and a variety of Disciples-related health and social service providers to create communities of compassion and care. Founded in 1887 by six women responding to the needs of the day and on their doorsteps, for more than 130 years the NBA has continued to serve “the least of these.” Learn more at www.nbacares.org.