Social distancing has not stopped many of us from speaking out for an end to the killing of unarmed black men and women by police. Did you know that 30 to 80 percent of those killed have been persons with some type of disability?
Welcome to Disability Concerns. My name is Mark Stephenson. I’m here to help you find the best ways for your church to become an accessible, warm, hospitable, and loving place for people with disabilities. At Disability Concerns we like to say, “Everybody belongs. Everybody serves.”
After receiving an M.Div. degree, I served as pastor of two Christian Reformed churches for a total of 17 years, and I have served as the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church since July 2006. My wife Bev and I have four living children, including our oldest child, Nicole, who was born extremely prematurely in the late 1980’s and lives with severe, multiple impairments. That label does not define her. She loves magazines, loves interacting with people, loves roller-coasters and wild amusement park rides, and she loves to worship and to pray with God’s people. In any group, she shares her own unique gifts.
God used Nicole to lead me into a variety of involvements with people with disabilities and their families including these:
- Chairing the board of Special Education Ministry of Holland (a Friendship group)
- Serving with working groups for various ministries with people with disabilities
- Directing the Disability Concerns ministry of my denomination.
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to speak to groups across North America about church and inclusion, and welcome such opportunities. Likewise, I welcome this opportunity to assist you and your congregation. If you cannot find a resource that you would find helpful, or if I can assist you in some way, please be in touch.
30 years ago today, the US adopted landmark civil rights legislation called the Americans with Disabilities Act. The worst barriers faced by people with disabilities usually result from attitudes and environments that we all create and could change.
Normal has not been good for everyone. It is time for a normal that restores an identity in Christ in us and all of our neighbors, especially our black neighbors.
Shortly after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, a team from CRC Disability Concerns recognized its importance for congregations, especially because the ADA explicitly excluded faith communities from its requirements.
Many designers place form over function, thereby excluding some members of their congregation from participation in worship. Learn how your church can become more accessible.
From the title to the final, frightening story with which the book concludes, Shar Boerema clings to hope in God and God’s faithful plan for the lives of everyone she loves.
In spite of facts, the president of the United States has been using his bully pulpit in recent days to finger mental illness as a cause of mass shootings. This assertion is foolish and dangerous.
As in all other things, we need sanctification. To sanctify our spaces, our communications, and our attitudes, new ideas can help. Here are five ideas for belonging and an example for each.
A Day in the Life by Bev Roozeboom gives a glimpse into the chaos and hope of families with children living in the grip of chronic mental health disorders.
Bonnie, thanks for putting the reprehensible words of Rep. Yoho as well as the responses of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and of Bread for the Word into a much broader context of the systemic sin which...posted on: A Reflection: Is This OK?
Once again, Dan, the term "white privilege" does not describe a theory, but a wide variety of practices in society that give us white people advantages over people of color. In banking, here's a...
Chris, thanks for this. The Christian Reformed Church's Office of Social Justice has a rich and deep library of justice prayers. Most of the prayers are written in response to specific situations...posted on: Seeking Justice AND Praying
Dan, another thought. The term "white privilege" does not refer to a theory but to a variety of ways in which our society provides advantages to people who are white compared to people of color....
Hi Dan, For me, here are three key actions:
1. Listen. I keep listening to the voices of people of color, through personal relationships and by reading. I'm just finishing Prophetic Lament...
Jim, thanks for your comment. Yes, African American friends have said to me that if I'm serious about being an ally of theirs, it will cost me. One of the costs is that when I speak up, I'll make...
Rev. Dr. Mika Edmondson got his Ph.D. from Calvin Seminary. He is an African American pastor at a Presbyterian Church in America and gave this address about the Black Lives Matter movement several...
Hi Don, thanks for your note. I'm one of the authors of this statement. You are right that violence should be condemned. I grieve for the families of police officers who were injured and died in...
I was just talking with a friend today who told me about the challenges for black men regarding masks. Others may think that a black man wearing a mask is up to something sinister, and they may...posted on: Not Lacking in Anything
Over 300 Facebook users have joined us at Intersection Ministries (Holland MI) for worship on Sunday, nearly three times as many as were present when we were worshiping in person. Also, one of our...