2024 MHS Association Member Awards

By Riley Mills March 27, 2024

MHS Association awarded its two annual member recognition awards – the Natan Award and the Koinonia Award

At the 2024 MHS Assembly conference in Savannah, GA, MHS Association awarded its two annual member recognition awards – the Natan Award and the Koinonia Award. MHS Association CEO, Karen Lehman, presented both awards to recipient organizations and their employees.

The Koinonia Award celebrates and recognizes an MHS Association member organization that exemplifies the Anabaptist principle of community. The Greek word “koinonia” conveys community, communion, joint participation, sharing, and intimacy. As Anabaptists, community is central to our lives. As health and human service ministries, this Anabaptist value can bring healing and wholeness. All nominations were reviewed and voted on by an awards committee, which was touched and inspired by the many ways the Anabaptist value of community is being brought to life through MHS Association member ministries.

The 2024 Koinonia Award was presented to Friendship Community, an organization that fosters community for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by creating opportunities for them to receive from and give back to their community. A few examples of this are:

The Natan Award was created as a way of celebrating the best of Anabaptist values in MHS Association member ministries and the people who work there. “Natan” is the Hebrew word for “to give”, and this award is presented annually to an individual or team whose work demonstrates Christ-like service in leadership. Nominations were reviewed and voted on by an awards committee made up of Tonya Keim, Bluestem Executive Assistant; Myron Weaver, OrrVilla CEO and MHS board member; Scott Miller, Garden Spot Communications Director, Karen Lehman, MHS CEO; and Brandon Bell, Jubilee Association Talent Acquisition Manager.

The 2024 Natan Award was presented to Pastor Ron Shank, Director of Pastoral Care at Brook Lane, who was nominated by two of their colleagues. Shank is known as a positive, thoughtful, and calm presence for staff and patients. His interactions lift people up, make them feel important and valued, and help all of his colleagues in their walk with Christ. He consistently has time for anyone who needs him. His spiritual leadership is invaluable, as it keeps the staff connected to their founding guiding principles which were drawn from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. He demonstrates care in many ways, including sending birthday cards each year to all 500 staff members.

In his nominations, colleagues note that Shank is a blessing to staff and patients alike, and his humble disposition, collaborative approach, and genuine care and empathy exemplify the Christ-like servitude that is central to Brook Lane’s Mission, Vision, and Values.

Congratulations to Friendship Community and Pastor Ron Shank on being the 2024 member recognition awards recipients.