Who Are Anabaptists?
Staff & Associates
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Become an Advocate
Become a Partner Congregation
Accessibility in all aspects of church life
Accessibility and Awareness
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)
Circles of Care
Disabilities of Aging
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
For the Deaf
Faith Formation & Worship
For Church leaders
On Mental Health
Children and Youth
Depression and Anxiety
Mental Health Education
Mental Health Resource for Congregations
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
From Other Faith Traditions
Book and Media Recommendations
A complete list of posts on the Opening Doors blog
All Opening Doors posts
Portrait of Survival
Suicide in the church is often considered taboo, sinful, or selfish. Tiara Coleman shares her story of surviving two suicide attempts in efforts to shatter the stigma, silence, and isolation in our congregations.
Spiritual Growth as Unique as the Members of the Body of Christ
Inspiring stories of spiritual growth among students with differing abilities demonstrate ways of worship as individual as they are.
"Do We Want to Get Well?" Webinar Recording Now Available
2019 Fall Fundraiser Banquet on October 4!
An invitation to our Fall Banquet with JE Misz
A Church for All People
Some congregations are finding that when they talk openly about mental health, it becomes natural to include mental health problems in the care and support they offer.
A Generous Exchange
A younger helper learns from a powerful teacher who happens to be an older woman with developmental disabilities
A Gift for Loving
A father learns that his son has a gift for loving others, which he shares freely with his church family.
A Lot of Fun Miracles
Tamara Gill shares how friendship with children with disabilities has changed her life
A Meaninful Role to Play
Chou Gabikiny is a counselor, consultant, and mother to children with disabilities. She explains how churches thrive when everyone has a role to play.
A New Commandment
Will we let people with cognitive disabilities wash our feet and transform our conceptions of what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be human?
A Paradox* of Joy
The third week of Advent
A Place to Belong
A Salute to College Mennonite Church
College Mennonite Church offers many ways for people with disabilities to contribute their gifts.
A Time to Heal
A family learns to rebuild trust after a child with mental health challenges spends time in juvenile detention.
A Truly Perfect Heaven
Would heaven would be a boring place if there were no people with Down Syndrome?
A Vision We Long For
Participants of this year's ADN Circles of Love Banquet heard personal accounts of courage, hope, and creativity in disabilities ministries. The evening embodied joy that comes when all people experience full inclusion in the body of Christ.
A Worthy Part of God's Family
Chrissie Denino's church celebrates her baptism after she expresses her faith using sign language.
Accepting the Gifts We're Given
Anxiety and depression can escalate during Christmas. While the push-and-pull of joyfulness and despair is exhausting, it’s more important to accept the gifts we’re given, regardless of how they’re wrapped.
ADN Names New Executive Director
ADN Names New Executive Director, Eldon Stoltzfus
Announcement of new Executive Director and staff changes
Advent 1: The Dawn Breaks Upon Us
David Janzen shares of God's tender mercies in the face of challenges that affect his cherished family. He writes; In a community of caring, wounded people....love reigns. Read more.
Advent 3: Zechariah's Silence
Zechariah’s temporary speech impairment was not a punishment given, but a sign bestowed of the promise of God’s divine fulfillment not only in the birth of John, but in the upcoming birth of the Messiah.
An Extraordinary Life
An Extra Ordinary Life, by Rhoda G. Penny, reviewed by Rebekah Flores.
Anabaptist Summer Camp Guide
A guide to the Anabaptist faith based Summer Camps offering programs for campers with disabilities in 2017.
And Who Is My Neighbor?
Seattle Mennonite members are companions to neighbors who have been homeless, many of whom have a mental illness.
Learning from people with developmental disabilities to experience healing as a broken person
Autism in the Congregation
Suggestions for including children with autism in church activities
Ron Sandison's journey with autism has been like the weather in Michigan, filled with both beautiful days and thunderstorms.
Bionic, with a Sense of Humor
Christine Purves reflects on aquiring disabilities while growing older
Blessings of a CARE Network
Jim Smith's family is blessed by a congregational network of care that helps them cope with their son's schizophrenia and a demanding work and travel schedule.
A friend, met just minutes before, soothed my deepest grief for my aunt with the sweetest of smiles and the deepest of understanding. Like my aunt, my new friend had Down Syndrome.
Building God's Kingdom One Job at a Time
Christian employers are learning about the positive outcomes of employing people with disabilities.
Camp Safari for people with intellectual disabilities was a new camp this year for the Southern Ohio District Church of the Brethren.
Can I Play Too?
Adults have a unique opportunity to create a supportive climate for children with autism by educating typical peers about autism.
Many people, including those with hearing loss, benefit from captioning and related alternatives.
Caring for Caregivers and Persons with Dementia
Bahia Vista Mennonite Church's parish nurse program is an expression of their commitment to show care and grace to one another, including persons with dementia.
Caring over the long haul
We hit on a sustainable pattern of support that gave me the encouragement I needed to manage complex family issues without wearing out my support team.
Advent Week Four
Birthdays are usually times of celebration, but when raising kids with disabilities, birthdays provide even greater reason for gratitude.
Certificate in Disabilities Ministry
Western Theological Seminary announces a Graduate Certificate in Disabilities Ministry to prepare pastors and others for ministry with the many people who live with disabilities.
Come and See
Learning from Mary-Anne to see prayer time as sacred and enjoyable once again.
Come as You Are!
Worship at Parables Community Church emphasizes belonging and empowerment for those with disabilities and their families
Come Live with Me
Five things I never knew about people with developmental disabilities until I started living with them. By Deborah Ferber.
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, how do we reach out to those who are lonely?
Committed to Mutual Support
To members of Forest Hills Mennonite Church, supporting one another during tough times is a matter of course, including stepping in to support a member with multiple sclerosis.
Communion and Food Allergies
Food sensitivities can be a hidden barrier to participation in the life of the church.
Community Transformation at L'Arche
Community transformation means offering a stranger a cup of cold water and through that cup of water transforming the relationship into a friendship.
Compel Everyone to Come!
This year past year, ADN undertook the task of making Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando more accessible to people with disabilities. Click to read encouraging stories of increased accessibility, inclusion, and participation!
Convention Accessibility Services at Orlando
Anabaptist Disabilities Network seeks Accessibility Coordinator and Assistants for MCUSA Convention, 2017
Recovering a biblical history laced with loss helps us bridge the gap between trauma thousands of years ago and trauma today.
Creating Space for Love
The fourth week of Advent
Dancing with Alta
Learning to contra-dance from a gifted young dancer with Down syndrome
Day Camp for Deaf Children
College Mennonite Church reaches out to the wider community through a day camp for Deaf children
Depression and Anxiety Rise among Young Adults during COVID-19
Disability and Health Care Rationing
disAbility Awareness Sunday
Hebron Mennonite Church seeks to understand the experiences of those with disability.
Opening our eyes to the mistreatment of adults with developmental disablities in the legal system, and a challenge to become involved.
Do We Want to Get Well?
A webinar with Amy Julia Becker
Drawing on the Investment
The caregiver of a spouse with memory loss reflects on finding the resources to live each day with love
Emmanuel - "God With Us"
Enabled to pray the Lord's prayer
God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven calls for peace and justice for all, not for only those who are able in body and mind.
Expanding Our Welcome: Benton Mennonite Church
Benton Mennonite Church installed a lift and an accessible restroom to become more accessible to people with disabilities.
Finding Hope in Hard Times
The first week of Advent
Advent Week Three
Five Ridiculous Things You Probably Believe About Mental Illness
Debunking common misperceptions about mental illnesses
Following the Call, Finding a Way
Bryce Miller shares about his call to ministry in light of living with cerebral palsy.
Friends Lighten the Load
Gary Long tells about coming to terms with Multiple Sclerosis and the support of church friends.
Friendship's Worship Team
A worship team from Friendship Community involves persons with intellectual disabilities in leading worship in Pennsylvania congregations.
From Cure to Community
YouTube video presentation by Christine Guth: From Cure to Community: Biblical Interpretation that Challenges the Stigma of Mental Illness.
From Victim to Victor
Living with Attention Deficit Disorder, Jack Mace encountered many challenges and negative stigmas. In this article, Jack tells his story of changing his perpsective from victim to victor. Read more.
God Can Turn Us to Hope Again
In the ICU, you wait. Wait for a nurse to come turn you, wait for your next meal to be delivered, wait for pain to subside, wait for independence to return, wait for dignity to be restored.
God, I know you're there!
Learning about prayer and forgiveness through the deep spirituality of friends with developmental disabilities.
God's Ministry to a Survivor
Sue Cassel finds her faith in God is a strong resource for coping with PTSD stemming from childhood abuse.
February is Low Vision awareness month. Mark Pickens works with churches to change their perspectives of people with disabilities.
He has been raised
The Risen Christ is visible in all people, even those with the most profound disabilities.
Hear Then the Parable
When we enter into authentic friendship with people with disabilities our worldviews and preconceived notions of humanity are confronted and transformed.
Depression's teaching of advent hope
Hope Despite a Blue Christmas
Living with hope in the shadow of depression during the holiday season
Hope in Anticipation: Who is Coming?
Advent Week One
Hospitality in the Parking Lot
Hospitality begins in the parking lot! Tips on making your church parking lot welcoming to people with disabilities.
How do you know?
Congregational Accessibility Network can help you learn how welcoming your church is to persons with disabilities
Getting to know Hsi-Fu is an adventure, and once you form a friendship with him, you know you are holding a rare gem in the palm of your hand.
Introducing Ellie Wenger, a teenage girl with Down syndrome who lives a rich life
In the Valley of the Shadow: Depicting Dementia
Anita Lehman's paintings flow from her experience of witnessing a loved one progress through Alzheimer's Disease. Her paintings capture that which goes beyond the darkness of the disease.
In the Wake of Tragedy, An Affirmation of Life and Hope
Sue Cassel reflects on hanging on to hope through times of desperate family crisis.
Including Children with Autism
Assembly Mennonite Church finds ways to include a child with autism and support his parents
Introducing Denise Reesor
Denise Reesor has been named as ADN's next program director, beginning October 3, 2016.
Isolation of Self-Stigma
Jack Mace falsely believed he was unwanted and disliked by his family due to his ADD. He lost years of relationship due to self-stigma. He tells his story of overcoming stigma and repairing relationships.
It's all in the face
While I see a face with Down syndrome and think of home and life, our culture looks at this face and sees only abnormality.
Keeping Kids and Vulnerable Adults Safe
Keys to Wellness and Friendship
Keys make a fitting symbol to celebrate years of staying out of the locked ward of a psychiatric unit
Larry's Place at Race Street House
Mennonite Churches in Lebanon County, Pennsylvannia joined together to establish a residential home for members of their congregations with disabilities in need of long term care.
Learning wisdom through worship with people who have intellectual disabilities
Let Them Be Sad
Thoughts on creating open and vulnerable spaces for comforting those experiencing depression, sadness, and disillusionment.
Those who know persons with disabilities know how important little things are – a sound, a movement, a breath. Wilfred Martens tells about the profound gift of a smile where it's least expected.
Love is a Beautiful Thing
Anita Chapman blesses Columbus Mennonite Church with her joy in living while they look after her ongoing care.
Lucy Made of Light
The author makes a beloved friend at the support group for people living with a mental illness.
Making a way where there is no way
Matt Yeater, a recent graduate of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, has been awarded the 2016 Dr. Jacob Boletin Award by the National Federation of the Blind for his work in making biblical languages accessible to blind people.
Making Friends with Time
Learning the Advent grace of waiting for another with openness of heart
Making Her Presence Known
Enabling people with intellectual disabilities to fully express themselves requires turning away from society's discomfort with difference.
Making Room for Christmas
How can we make room for the holy by embracing the unexpected and welcoming one another this holiday season?
MCUSA Convention Accessibility Coordinator Named
Elizabeth Vendley served as Accessibility Coordinator for the MCUSA Convention in 2017. Elizabeth organized efforts to provide services and supports making the Convention more accessible and participatory for all, including those with disabilities.
Mental Health Sunday
Approximately one in five persons sitting in church Sunday morning struggle with mental health problems. No one should have to whisper about their lives in the church. Plan a Mental Health Sunday. ADN can help.
Ministry at L'Arche
Deborah Ferber reflects on the connection between living at L'Arche and her seminary studies preparing for ministry.
Mutual Care and COVID-19
My Brother Who Doesn’t Say a Word
Even though Christopher cannot speak, Deborah has learned that togetherness can happen when they share a meal together, listen to good music together, or laugh at a good joke.
Need and Creatureliness
Many people with developmental disabilities know and befriend their neediness, and thus are able to live in a freedom of the Spirit that can also be transformative for us.
New Barrier-Free Grant for Congregations
New support for congregations to become more accessible
Mark Pickens encountered a disability of low vision as a teenager. Though God promises to be with us through life's transitions, life in the wake of a new disability can feel hopeless. Mark shares Ron Kovic's story of moving from despair to blessing.
On Learning to Grieve Beautifully
Life lessons in living with grief learned from living companions with developmental disabilities
On Learning to Live a Lot
Life lessons from living with people with developmental disabilities: Learning to live a lot suggests that we haven’t giving up, that we are still breathing and moving forward.
Open Hearts, Open Doors
Good news for people with disabilities is close to the heart of Jesus’ gospel message and the mission of Anabaptist Disabilities Network.
Open Roof Fellowship
Your congregation is invited to join the Open Roof Fellowship if you are a Church of the Brethren congregation committed to and actively engaged in ministry to and with persons with disabilities.
Pain is such a pain!
Pain is an intruder, interrupter, isolator, and driver of guilt and grief. The good news ais that your body is telling you what it needs. The bad news is you have to learn what to do about it and how to adapt.
Panda Cake and Down Syndrome
Friends with developmental disabilities help make a birthday party filled with warmth and love.
Partnering with the Church of the Brethren
Anabaptist Disabilities Network and the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries are collaborating to promote inclusion of people with disabilities.
Partners in Ushering
Mari Janzen took the initiative to make Tom her ushering partner, and together they are learning to know everyone in their large congregation.
Perfect in God's Sight
“Remember, you are perfect in God's sight,” athlete Tim Berta reflects, after surviving a traumatic brain injury.
Plan for their future
An informative event about how to develop estate plans that benefit your loved one with disabilities.
This position has been filled.
Ready and Able
Tony Walters, a deacon at Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren who happens to have autism, helps prepare for the congregation's love feasts.
Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury
After a serious bicycle accident, Jeri Lake found a surprising new way to heal from the ongoing effects of traumatic brain injury.
At First Mennonite Church, ability or disability seem irrelevant, as persons with disabilities contribute through leadership and other gifts.
Reflecting on Disability
The lived experience of disability nudges us continually toward an inclusion that moves far beyond making our churches physically accessible, to a sense of the table of Christ’s fellowship open for all.
Remembering Eldon Stoltzfus
Anabaptist Disability Network remembers the life of Kent Gundy of Goshen, Indiana, and reflects on the contributions he made to the organization.
Savoring the Present
Michael and Mary Lehman Yoder share stories of coping with Michael's early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
SEEDS: Socialize, Encourage, Engage, Disciple, Serve
Semester of the Heart
A story of priorities reoriented by living in community with people who have developmental disabilities
Sharing the Journey as a Faithful Friend
Tips for being a good friend to someone who has a mental illness
Solidarity with Disabled Friends in India
Speakers at the Circles of Love Banquet
Guides for the Journey: families and congregations touched by disability finding belonging and sharing gifts. Read more about the speakers featured at ADN ’s Circles of Love Banquet!
Stigmatizing and Separating: A Parent's Plea
A mother describes the world of stigma and injustice that her daughter with an intellectual disability faces. Stigmas towards those with disabilities need to change, and need begin in the church.
Straightening, Raising, and Smoothing
Isaiah's words are instructive. Prepare the way for the Lord! The path of the Lord is one upon which all people can traverse. It causes no stumbling, no barriers, there is nothing to limit one’s passage. Here God's glory is revealed!
Those of us with mental illness deeply need people who will face the abyss with us without flinching, writes Christine Guth.
Teaching Tip: Puppets and Children with Autism
Maria Witmer-Rich tells about using puppets to engage a child with autism in the Sunday school class she teaches
The words “thank you,” coming from a man who rarely speaks, embody God's hospitality and gratitude to a caregiver
Thanks, Christine, for Your Service to ADN
After ten years of service to Anabaptist Disabilities Network, Christine Guth announces her intent to resign as Program Director, effective December 2016.
The Edinburgh Rain
Even in the wake of mental illness and homeless, each person's unique story of incredible resilience and strength does not change.
The Feast of the Incarnation
Celebrating the Incarnation as a sign that our salvation comes through the earthly and material reality that we are
The Kingdom of God is like...
With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?
The Least of These
The intersections of poverty culture, race, and mental health
The Life of a L'Arche Assistant
The daily life of working as an assistant in a L'Arche community is not glamorous, but it brings joy in abundance.
The Lord is My Strength
Erick Sawatzky brought together Anabaptist beliefs and lived experience with disability to suggest elements of an Anabaptist disability theology
The Messages of Community
After spending time with friends with developmental disabilities, the author comes to realize their rare awareness and maturity.
The Peace of Christ
The second week of Advent
The Peace of Christ
Can we open our hearts and lives to the most vulnerable so that they can transform our vision about what it means to be Christian, citizens, and human?
The Point of No Return
Dwight Roth paints a haunting word picture that challenges us to think about who we are and how we show compassion
The Prince of Peace
Advent Week Two
The secret life of a bipolar beauty
How I learrned to maneuver all the gears of a sudden, life-changing illness: bipolar disorder
The Third Servant
When we see a sister or brother who reminds us of the third servant—despondent, suspicious, avoiding all risk—our invitation is to bear that beloved child of God up before the throne of mercy.
The Weak are Indispensable!
Could the Apostle Paul have been thinking about people with disabilities when he wrote, “The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable”?
The Wisdom of God
By choosing to become the scapegoat of humanity’s violence, Jesus radically identifies with the suffering “other”
Three Ways to Be an Ally
Being an ally for people living with mental illness in your church
Through the Wilderness
Leading with Mental Illness during COVID-19
To stare or to gaze
How will we look at people with intellectual disabilities? with a stare or with a gaze?
Jessica lives with phantom chronic pain. Despite persistent prayer, her aching, burning, and stabbing pain remains. In this powerful article, Jessica reveals how her pain is helping her discover eternity.
Tragedy Opens a Door
Pastor Bob Molsberry reflects on the hit-and-run bicycle accident that has left him using a wheelchair and how this experience contributes to his ministry overseeing congregations in Ohio.
Transformation on the Trail
A parent of an autistic young adult reflects on the changing of seasons and the tug-of-war between joy and sorrow in the heart.
Transition to Adulthood
Kevin Sauder shares about the transition from school to adult life for his son who is on the autism spectrum.
Tribute to Aunt Debbie
A tribute to a beloved aunt, who had many fondly remembered qualities, one of which was that she had Down syndrome.
Today I experienced a real God moment while praying with our core members at L’Arche.
Turning the Ground by Standing Still
Sometimes the real touch from God is not in what doctors know, but in being okay with the unknown, placing ourselves into God’s hands, and allowing Him to turn the soil in our own stillness.
Walking through Fears into the Wonder of Love
Walking with Vets
Metro Mennonite Church in Oklahoma City supports an active ministry with military veterans
We Are Able Workcamp
A balance of work and play helps create lasting friendships that makes this workcamp a meaningful experience for teens and young adults with developmental disabilities.
We Are Able!
We Are Able Workcamp of the Church of the Brethren is a chance for young adults with disabilities to serve, learn, grow, and form friendships. Consider registering!
Weathering the Pandemic for Families with Special Needs
Year-End Giving Options Continue despite website maintenance
Welcome Hannah Thompson
New ADN Program Director
Welcome, Emily Hunsberger!
Introducing our latest ADN team member
What Am I Doing? Where My Going?
Even though someone with dementia may not know, God knows who they are and where they’re going.
When Someone is Considering Suicide
How can we help prevent suicide?
When Something Goes Right
When things go right for someone having a violent psychotic break, you can be sure that an engaged community is providing support, both in the moment and behind the scenes.
Where We Need to Be
Where's the justice in that?
Why are so few people with developmental disabilities present in our churches? Next time you go to church, have a look around, note who is in attendance and resolve to do what you can do to bring those who aren’t already there into the fold.
Why I Went to a Funeral for Someone I Never Knew
Contributions made by a person with an intellectual disability often aren't recognized. L’Arche has taught me that God also uses those whom society deems unfit to teach us what humanity, love, laughter, and life are really and truly all about.
Will you be my friend?
For the first time I understood that people with developmental disabilities asked the same questions and shared the same hopes that I did.
Worlds Changed by MCS
Living with Mutiple Chemical Sensitivities requires lifestyle changes and supportive friends who are willing to adapt.
Worship Service Marks Mental Health Awareness Month
One congregation's effort to raise awareness and offer support
Would you sit with me awhile?
To know pain and suffering is to be human. Sometimes in times of pain, loss, and suffering, what is needed is less advice and more companionship.
Youth Ministry for All Abilities
Resources and reflections from The Gathering Place on youth ministry that includes people with disabilities, from eight Anabaptist writers and speakers.
Opening Doors topics
Disabilities of Aging
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Other faith traditions
The Hope of Waiting
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