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As we move through June, I am struck by the feeling of uncertainty and change that is all around me lately. With summer upon us, how vastly different it feels from last summer when we were still so limited in our ability to travel. What does the summer hold for you? What about the fall? What will church look like in the coming months? What impact will decisions made at the CRCNA and RCA synod assemblies this month have for each of us in our own church communities?

There are more questions than answers, but I remain hopeful and thankful. As we gear up for our annual Disability Concerns training event in August, we welcome many from our wider community into challenging and important conversations. It’s also a time of fellowship as we come together to learn and grow as a disability faith community. Join us August 11 and 12 as we focus on ableism. It’s a perfect opportunity to invite leaders in your church to join us as we grow in awareness and share in community.

—Becky Jones, Editor

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Summer 2022—Acquired Disability
Some people are born with a disability but many others remember a time when they did not have the disability. How has your disability—acquired through stroke, accident, illness, aging—affected you, your relationships, your work and your experience at church? What have you lost, and what have you gained? Please tell us a story (up to 400 words) about your acquired disability by July 8, 2022.

Fall 2022—”Too Disabled!”
Many people with disabilities have gotten the message from others that their disability is too limiting, making them unfit or incapable to do something—even before getting the opportunity to prove otherwise. If you’ve ever been told or gotten the impression you were considered “too disabled” for a task, role, or job you wanted to take on, and knew you possessed the needed qualifications, please tell us your story (up to 400 words) by August 1, 2022.

Email: lcapel@crcna.org  •  tdeyoung@rca.org

August Training Event

Let’s End #AbleismAtChurch

Join us (virtually) August 11 & 12, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. EDT for our annual training event. This year our theme is Let’s end #AbleismAtChurch. We will explore the term ableism and consider ways we can help reduce the impact of ableism in churches. This event is open to everyone interested in learning more about this very important topic. We will continue to release more information about this event on our dedicated website: Let’s End #AbleismAtChurch.

Learn More Here!

Creating Community for All

A Visit to The Inclusion Coffeehouse

The Inclusion Coffeehouse in Hamilton, Ontario, is an excellent example of what community should look like—people with and without disabilities working together, sharing laughter and friendship, and encouraging others to participate in community life. Perhaps their model can encourage all of us to think of ways we can embrace a more inclusive community model.

Find Out More!

Regional Advocate Creates Unique Business with Brother

B.C. Social Enterprise ‘Simon’s Soapbox’ Wins Entrepreneurial Award

Caroline Short is an active member of our volunteer network for Disability Concerns, holding the position of regional advocate in British Columbia (North-West). She is also the co-owner of a new business, Simon’s Soapbox, with her brother Simon, who has Down syndrome. This venture started in Simon’s kitchen as Caroline and Simon found a fun way to spend time together during the pandemic. It has grown into an award-winning small business. Way to go Caroline and Simon!

Read Article Here

"Best of the Church Press" Awards

RCA-CRC Disability Concerns Wins 4 awards in 2022!

Did you know that Breaking Barriers is an award-winning newsletter? It has been recognized by the Associated Church Press - a professional organization brought together by a common commitment to excellence in journalism within the faith community - as a space that provides people with disabilities the opportunity to share their experiences. Thank you to all of our Breaking Barriers writers! We are so thankful for you!

Read Article Here

Inspire 2022

Join us for Inspire in Tinley Park, Illinois, on August 4-6, 2022. Disability Concerns will be hosting two workshops during the event:

What Your Church Can Do About Ableist Practices: Led by Lindsay Wieland Capel and Terry DeYoung, this workshop will cover what ableism is, as well as how churches can fight it through intentional hospitality that communicates each person’s worth, dignity, and value.

Indispensable: How the Gospel Subverts Weakness and Strength: Led by Dan VanderPlaats, this workshop will examine how, in order to be the body of Christ, we must include people with disabilities, not just as attendees, but as members, servants, and leaders.

Find Out More!

Consider Becoming a Volunteer!

As we continue into a new year, have you considered taking on a new role within your church or your classis? There are a number of vacant positions for both church and regional disability advocates across North America. If you feel called by God to serve within your community as an advocate for people with disabilities, we would love to hear from you!

We are so thankful for our many volunteers who carry out the important work of our ministry. However, we need many more volunteers across North America to fully live out the call to create spaces where everyone belongs and everybody serves. We have openings for regional advocates and church advocates.

We are looking for CRC regional advocates in a number of classes across North America, including Classis Niagara in Canada and Classis Minnkota, Classis Hudson, and Classis Heartland in the USA. Please refer to the Advocates Corner on our website to see if your classis is searching for a regional advocate.

Would you prayerfully consider if you are being called to lead as a regional advocate or church advocate? Or, if someone comes to mind who you think would be interested, please connect with us at disabilityconcerns@crcna.org. The job descriptions can be found here: Disability Advocate Job Descriptions

Job Description!

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Thank You for Your Support!

Without monetary support for Disability Concerns, we wouldn’t be able to share these stories. To help us ensure that everybody belongs and everybody serves, would you please consider praying for us and making a financial contribution? It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s a gracious and beautiful act of obedience.

You can donate to the ongoing work of Disability Concerns in the CRCNA here.

Donate via the CRCNA

 

You can donate to the ongoing work of Disability Concerns in the RCA here.

Donate via the RCA

 

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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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