Our expanded agreement provides for increased cooperation in disabilities ministry over the next three years. Debbie Eisenbise, Director of Intergenerational Ministries for the Church of the Brethren with primary staff responsibility for disability ministries in her denomination, currently serves on the board of directors of Anabaptist Disabilities Network.
“We are delighted to have Debbie’s added perspective, enthusiasm and ideas on the board,” said Kathy Nofziger Yeakey, executive director. Debbie is already working with ADN staff to develop shared resources and provide communication pieces to support families, individuals, and congregations ministering to and with persons with disabilities of all kinds, including mental illnesses.
Church of the Brethren congregations with a ministry emphasis on accessibility and inclusion of persons touched by disabilities are invited to join the Church of the Brethren Open Roof Fellowship
for mutual support and encouragement. The Church of the Brethren commitment to this ministry is rooted in their 2006 Annual Conference resolution: “Commitment of Accessibility and Inclusion (ADA)” by which the denomination pledges “to work to ensure that all may worship, serve, be served, learn and grow,” and to examine and rectify barriers to persons with disabilities with the goal of making all denominational sites accessible.
The Open Roof Fellowship program is similar to Anabaptist Disabilities Network’s Congregational Partnership program. In the Congregational Partnership program, ADN collaborates with and supports partner congregations as they seek to become ever-more accessible to persons touched by disabilities.
Another aspect of the expanded relationship between ADN and the Church of the Brethren is the work of shared Field Associate, Rebekah Flores. She is a member of the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Illinois, and she serves as an ADN Field Associate on behalf of the Church of the Brethren. She is a resource person for the districts, congregations and denomination of the Church of the Brethren.
In July, Rebekah will serve in a new role as an ombudsman for persons with disabilities at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in South Carolina. Rebekah also represents and shares information about ADN’s services and resources available to congregations at Church of the Brethren district conferences.
Anabaptist Disabilities Network currently has three volunteer Field Associates, Kathy Dickson serving in Ohio, Rebekah Flores in Illinois, and Lora Nafziger in Indiana. A fourth, Deborah Ferber, who writes for our blog, currently lives in the United Kingdom. ADN staff and field associates are available for consultation, workshops, and presentations on issues related to disabilities.
Kathy Nofziger Yeakey is Executive Director for Anabaptist Disabilities Network.