NBA Board of Trustees Fall 2020 Meeting A Spirit of Collective Care and Gratitude

Trustees and NBA leadership gathered virtually for the biannual trustee meeting.Trustees and NBA leadership gathered virtually for the biannual trustee meeting.

The Board of Trustees of the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) met virtually November 13–14, 2020, for their Fall meeting. Typically, the Fall board meeting is hosted by an NBA Partner organization. Instead, staff and trustees convened virtually to honor travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus.

On Friday, the Board, staff, and Partner ministries gathered for an online worship service honoring the collective mourning and loss that this year has brought.

“There is no loss that is insignificant, there is no mourning that is trivial,” said Rev. Angela Whitenhill-Shields, Mental Health Initiative Manager. “It is healthy to share in community with one another, what we are mourning.”

“Many of us have adopted the mindset that to grieve would be a waste of time,” said Rev. Orlando Scott, NBA Trustee. “I believe we have neglected a God given gift of grief. Sometimes we don’t realize that we should grieve the losses that have impacted us.”

The meeting then continued with a report from NBA President and CEO, Mark D. Anderson. In his presentation, Anderson focused on gratefulness in a tumultuous year. He offered gratitude for the flexibility of NBA Partners, staff, and Trustees, and the success of online programming in place of in-person events. “Together, we are committed to the well-being of all humanity and we do so with intentional collaboration with partners, congregations, nonprofits, social entrepreneurs and Disciples regions,” Anderson said. “For people who are fool-hearted and believe God is calling each of us to engage in this sacred work for creating a more just and caring world for God’s people, I am grateful.”

Updates were provided on NBA’s organizational commitment to addressing root causes of inequity and systemic racism. Led by staff and in partnership with external consultants, this year has included educational trainings, numerous discussion sessions, and models of evaluating white supremacist culture. A progress report on the work was offered by Rebecca Hale, Executive Vice President, and Monica Wedlock Kilpatrick, Associate Vice President of Organizational Development. In the coming months, NBA will expand this work with Trustees and across ministry partners.

The Saturday meeting included listening to reports on the impact of NBA COVID-19 Response Grants, NBA Mission & Ministry Grants, and discussions on NBA’s work related to organizational and leadership development and initiatives regarding justice issues and advocacy. The Board also approved the operations budget for 2021. Board Chair Cindy Kim-Hengst reflected on how “I am moved by the courage and deep compassion of the 91 ministries who applied and received funding to serve and care for families and people in the midst of the pandemic. From offering food and meals, to mental health support, emergency housing, and healthcare – these are people who truly live their faith.”

Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) also offered remarks about the many faithful acts of mercy and justice happening across the Disciples Church in these days.

The NBA Board of Trustees will meet virtually again in February, June, and August of 2021, with a hope for an in-person meeting anticipated for November 2021.

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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