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Advocating for our many differences

The basic structure has been turned upside down and backwards this year due to COVID. There is no normal anymore, and we work with constant changes due to the pandemic. While this has been challenging, exhausting, and isolating, it has also allowed space to reflect on what parts of church were working, and what parts need to be reinvented. Our winter issue of Breaking Barriers addresses ways that COVID has created new points of access and connection. But as a church we need to recognize that we have a long journey towards full inclusion. Dr. Lamar Hardwick, known as the autism pastor, writes: “Understanding, accepting, and advocating for our many differences is what brings hope to humanity. Different does not equal deficient; limitations don’t equal liability, and boundaries don’t have to translate to burdens.” (Disability and the Church - A Vision for Diversity and Inclusion by Lamar Hardwick)

May we continue to work towards the church that extends its welcome and embrace to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, social status or ability.

—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.

Summer 2021—The arts and disability
If you live with a disability, please send us your poems, short stories, photographs, or photos of visual works of art you created. Items do not need to be about your disability. Our typical word limit for written pieces is 400 words. Send your submission by April 2, 2021.

Perspective from our Community

Unexpected Access: Winter 2021 Breaking Barriers

During the long stretch of isolation and distancing imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, people with disabilities found that some barriers to participation actually were removed. The articles in this issue tell a few of those stories of unexpected access.

Access Newsletter

Disability Concerns 2021 Focus Announced

Resources for Disability Week and Disability Sunday 2021

Have you asked yourself, "Who's missing in my church?" This is the question Disability Concerns is focused on for 2021. When accessibility becomes optional for churches, the gap can become a chasm for young people who are accustomed to a world where full inclusion and belonging are the norm. Join the conversation here.

Read Article

As we journey through the lenten season

Lament Toolkit: Understanding and Practicing Biblical Lament

This is an interesting year to journey through the act of observing lent. With so much suffering and loss around us, it is hard to consider giving up more for lent as we mark the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter. However, this unexpected isolation offers a space to form intentional habits of connecting with God in prayer and meditation. The RCA has developed a lament toolkit that can guide and support you as you reserve time for quiet reflection and prayer this season.

Looking for further resources? Justice Unbound: An Interactive Journal for Christian Social Justice developed this resource: Disabling Lent: An Anti-ableist lenten devotion.

Access toolkit

Updates on Medical Assistance in Dying (MaID)

Centre for Public Dialogue: Medical Assistance in Dying

Recently, we partnered with The Centre for Public Dialogue(CPD) on an action alert about MAID. CPD is a ministry of the CRCNA that works to listen deeply to the people that are affected by policy. They have developed a landing page for the most current information on MAID. This will provide you with information on recent amendments made to bill C-7 and how they will impact our disability community.

Explore Resource

Black History month

Honoring Black History Month:
Unsung Heroes of the Disability Rights Movement

This past year, in the midst of a pandemic, there was a civil rights movement that took place. We have seen a significant shift in the conversation as people of colour are demanding to be heard and respected in a society that has diminished their voice and their worth. In the disability community this has also been the case. The NCLD has created a list of black Americans who have contributed to the disability movement, yet have not been given proper recognition for their contributions. We would like to honour their commitment by sharing their stories with you.

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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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