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An Act of Resistance

Like so many of you, I have been sitting in my home, longing for the day when simply going out and having coffee with a friend is possible again. It seems a long way off. It seems almost as if it is a foggy dream right now. Therefore, I have been sitting alone, drinking coffee and reading - a lot! In preparation for our upcoming book club (make sure to sign up!!) I have been reading John Swinton’s new book: Finding Jesus in the Storm: The Spiritual Lives of Christians with Mental Health Challenges. He writes about joy in this book, and he cites a definition of joy by Yale systematic theologian Willie Jennings that has helped me through this season. Jennings states: “Joy is an act of resistance against all the forces of despair. Joy is a work that can become a state which can become a way of life.” Swinton adds to this thought: “...joy is not an emotion or a feeling. Rather, it is an assured presence - the presence of Jesus.”

As we walk through very dark times, both politically and as we deal with a global pandemic, how fitting that joy is described as an act of resistance that we can all practice. May you all feel the presence of Jesus, our joy, in this season. (Finding Jesus in the Storm: The Spiritual Lives of Christians with Mental Health Challenges, p. 80)

—Becky Jones, Editor

Have you considered writing for Breaking Barriers?

Breaking Barriers newsletter has a print circulation of about 80,000 copies per quarter plus over 2500 electronic subscriptions to Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America churches and many individuals. Here’s what we are planning for the next issue, and we’d love to have your contributions.

Spring 2021—Race and disability. Among others, Daniel Prude and Walter Wallace Jr. might still be alive if they had not been black or disabled. If you are Black, Indigenous, or a person of color and live with a disability, please tell us your story (400 words) by January 29, 2021.

Join our Disability Concerns Book Clubs!

Disability Concerns Book Clubs Announced!

Looking for a good book club to join during the long winter months ahead? We have one for you! In February we will be journeying through the newest book by John Swinton: Finding Jesus in the Storm. This book club will take place every Tuesday evening at 7pm for 6 weeks from February 2 to March 9th, 2021. Join us! Sign up today!

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(Wondering what a disability concerns book club is like? Read this review by one of our
book club members: Courage for Caregivers: Sustenance for the Journey)

Supporting our Church Disability Advocates

Roadmap for Church Disability Advocates: From the First Step To Success!

Church disability advocates are invaluable to the work of our ministry. A church disability advocate knows their individual community and is the necessary link between the needs of a community and the resources our ministry provides. The Disability Concerns ministries are so thankful for their work! We have created this roadmap for current and future church disability advocates. It is designed for people who want to learn more about the role and what to expect, and it is also a great resource for those in the role. May it serve you well!

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Supporting our Regional Disability Advocates

Roadmap for Regional Disability Advocates: From the First Step To Success!

Regional Disability Advocates are also invaluable to the work of our ministry! You are the ones that make the very important connection between our work as a ministry and the individual churches and church advocates. With over 2000 churches in the CRC and RCA, our ministries depend on you to forward the work of our ministry to the individual classis. We have created this roadmap for you. It is designed for those considering stepping into this important role and serves as a great resource for those currently in the role. May it serve you well!

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Supporting our Pastors During COVID-19

It's Rough Out There: Considering Your Pastor's Mental Health in COVID

Disability Concerns has teamed up with Pastor Church Resources to address the needs of our pastors at this time. The term “unprecedented times” has become an overused statement for the dark reality of what we are all living through. As a church community, the diverse needs of congregation and community make ministry extremely challenging. The stress and strain of this season may be affecting your pastor and leaders of your church. This resource provides tools for identifying and ministering to the mental health needs of leadership within your church community.

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Let Justice Roll

Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol

This past week we all watched, shocked, as the Capitol of the United States, the seat of justice for the country, was besieged. This represented a very dark time in American history that we all grieve. We pray for peace as we move forward with the inauguration of a new president this week. As images and videos were released of all that ensued on January 6th, one conversation that was intriguing was related to the art within the capitol. The halls are filled with art that represents important historical events and individuals for Americans. One piece is a statue of disability advocate Helen Keller that was installed on October 7, 2009 in a ceremony led by Speaker of the US House, Nancy Pelosi. As we work towards a better future as a country, may we remember those that have come before us and whose legacy we are fighting for.

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This mostly monthly e-newsletter is a ministry of Christian Reformed Church in North America and Reformed Church in America Disability Concerns ministries.

Christian Reformed Church in North America
1700 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508-1407
3475 Mainway, Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8

Reformed Church of America
4500 60th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

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