Rachel Joy is an MDiv student at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and recently completed a degree in conflict resolution at Portland State University. She is currently working as the congregational administrator at Portland Mennonite Church (PMC), in Portland, Oregon, while taking online classes. Rachel enjoys the beauty of the Pacific NW, plays cello, and likes to read poetry and science fiction. She has lived most of her life with a moderate-to-severe hearing loss and knows what an impact an accessible environment and a culture of inclusion can make.
As a church administrator, and as a person with a disability, Rachel has seen that her congregation could do more to make their building accessible and culture more inclusive for people with a wide range of accessibility needs. She has also had conversations with people from other congregations in our conference who have expressed lack of information and a sense of isolation, and knows these are not unique concerns.
Portland Mennonite Church encourages its staff to volunteer in support of Mennonite ministries and programs, and offers up to one week of paid time per year for service. Rachel sought out ADN in order to support the work of a group whose existence has encouraged her. The PMC leadership group and congregational care group have blessed this new partnership. Rachel is currently providing editing support a few hours each month and the congregation is becoming more alert to disability concerns of all kinds. Rachel notes "The ADN approach to connect congregations and provide informational resources is a valuable step toward an inclusive church. The network approach of ADN, and the holistic person-centered theology is also very fitting for our anabaptist context."