CCH President/CEO Announces January 2020 Planned Retirement Date

Don Stump, President/CEO of Christian Church Homes

Dear Friends,

The CCH family has been the heart and soul of my activities and daily life style for nearly my entire life, or at least since age 13 when I first moved into a two-bedroom apartment with my family at Westlake. Everything I know about leadership, business, housing, gerontology, communication, compassion and respect for my fellow human beings, I learned at CCH. After nearly five decades of deep involvement with CCH, I have chosen January of 2020 as my retirement date – Yikes!

I greatly appreciate the strong partnerships we have built together over the past five decades. CCH is one of the oldest and most respected agencies of its type. I am proud of all we’ve accomplished and look forward to assisting the CCH Board with a smooth transition of leadership. In the meantime, I plan on coming to work every day and slugging through the pile of paper on my desk. CCH is currently managing 61 properties in nine states and more are coming through the pipeline. There are exciting possibilities ahead. In a couple of years, we will celebrate our 60th anniversary. I am thankful to all our partners, associates, employees and supporters for helping to build our mission of Providing Affordable Quality Housing in Caring Communities.

As I contemplate retirement, I note our world is ever evolving. Last month, I appreciated the opportunity to read an article in The Atlantic Magazine titled, “America’s Empty Churches”. The article was both exciting and sad as it described a major trend of older congregations trying to redefine their mission from 200 people gathering to worship, to using their campus to provide housing and services for seniors. These conversations included some hard issues and yet some exciting possibilities for the future.

At CCH, we have been having these same conversations across the country which were identified by The Atlantic. For at least a decade, I have noticed two trends that seem to be on converging paths:

First – the need for affordable senior housing has never been greater as the country is heading toward 23% of the nation being over 65 years old, and an increasing percentage of those living in poverty.  These seniors are so often living in substandard conditions from coast to coast in this great nation.

Second – there are indeed many churches with a significant decline in membership but, of course, they still have a good heart and a mission committed to serving the needy in their local community.

Thus – CCH is actively supporting a merger of these two parallel causes and missions. CCH has been approached by several older and declining congregations to see if there is a way to rethink their physical mission and presence in the world, and somehow jump into senior housing and services. We have had this conversation many times in several states. These are opportunities to deeply explore how a beautiful historical church can preserve its basic structure and beauty while locating a significant number of affordable homes for seniors within its walls, or at that address. When trying to creatively approach these challenges, it is important to keep your mind and heart open to a variety of solutions.  This might include preservation of certain key components of the church program, a focus on the physical items to be retained, or a blending of multiple services and missions at one location.

CCH is actively pursuing this slightly modified version of its 57-year-old mission as we find ourselves working with houses of worship and congregations which are often more than 100 years old. The legacy of that congregation is beautifully realized when seniors are handed keys to their new affordable home.

With Gratitude!

Don Stump

CCH President/ CEO


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