Discussion Topic

I understand the security CAPTCHA provides but wonder if there might be another security option which would create easier access to this site?   

September 11, 2017 1 3 comments
Blog

Ruth, who has longed to dance all her life, finally accepted his offer and told him she would be hanging on to him for dear life.

September 7, 2017 1 2 comments
Blog

Okay, so I’m late to the game. I finally read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, and I still haven’t seen the movie. Though late, I still feel compelled to comment.

August 29, 2017 3 2 comments
Blog

Hosting a trip that included volunteers with physical challenges and developmental disabilities was fairly unusual for World Renew, but it was worth the effort, said Art Opperwall, program manager for World Renew DRS.

June 20, 2017 1 0 comments
Blog

My husband, Ed, and I have traveled a long road with his disabilities. We’ve been told to pray and fast for healing, and trust that he will be healed. It sounds so easy, but a cure has not come. 

January 9, 2017 2 11 comments
Box of Smarties candy, with handmade label attached that says, "With a Smile."
Blog

Until the last few years when his pain level grew especially intense, Ralph always signed his email messages, “With a smile, Ralph.”

November 29, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Lori writes, "Okay, time to 'fess up! Perhaps the greatest fear of my life came to fruition on September 7, 2016. The fear of being institutionalized!"

September 21, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Chronic pain makes it difficult for her to sit, stand, and walk. It challenges her ability to concentrate and limits her ability to serve others. It has disrupted her marriage, social life, and work. So why is her life marked with joy?

August 29, 2016 1 2 comments
Resource, Story or Testimony

It's a challenge dealing with assumptions people make about his stammering speech and with his own frustrations, but Christ’s peace keeps him from bitterness.

July 25, 2016 0 2 comments
Resource, Devotional

In the presence of "healthy" friends or family members, disabled persons are sometimes not even addressed directly.

November 25, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Website

Free resources (e.g. factsheets, videos, slideshows) are available to help support people living with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and burn injury. 

November 4, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

Judy, who has used a wheelchair to get around for the past year, has some advice for showing common courtesy. It’s simple stuff, the kind of thing you learn in kindergarten but quickly forget.

June 1, 2015 2 1 comments
Resource, Website

United Way in the U.S. and in Canada has done magnificent work compiling extensive, up-to-date, and user friendly databases of local agencies and resources in both countries.

September 30, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

The spread effect is one of several factors that result in more people with disabilities living at the lowest end of the socio-economic spectrum of all North Americans.

September 23, 2014 0 5 comments
Blog

Three brief and helpful articles caught my eye: on police encounters with young black men with autism and with men with mental illness, and on U.S. Social Security Disability benefits.

August 25, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

Many people consider disability to be abnormal. Even more dangerous to the Kingdom of God, some Christians think this way and extend this thinking even further by saying that people with disabilities are abnormal. This perspective diminishes and ostracizes people. The church isn’t much better than society in this regard.

January 7, 2014 0 3 comments
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Jenny, thanks for the question. We'll get the info to you privately. Mark

Could you tell me if there is a Disability Advocate close to my home church. Hope Fellowship Courtice Ontario.

I can relate.  I've had people do that to me too, and I don't have a speech problem.  But I do have a disability, schizophrenia, and at one time, when I was taking a certain kind of anti-psychotics I guess I tended to look a bit wooden.  It's amazing how easily people tend to assume that because one has a disability, one is also--necessarily--intellectually deficient as well.  As if intellectual deficiency were an inevitable dimension of all disabilities. 

posted in: Indispensable

The Google 'recaptcha' tool we're using works on mobile and touchscreen devices. It usually shows the "I am not a robot" checkbox but will occasionally show swiggly text if it needs more verification. Both forms work with assistive devices like screen readers.

If you're not seeing it at all, no problem. That means verification isn't needed.

But if you're seeing an altogether different style of captcha (not labeled 'Recaptcha') then let me know which page it's appearing on and we'll check into it further.

Unfortunately, there is not a I am not a robot box! Also, a lot of people use tablets and phones which don't use a mouse. This trend will only increase in the future as the mouse is slowly disappearing. Thank You for your efforts. 

Thanks for the question, Lori. The Network uses Google's "recaptcha" service which has been built with accessibility in mind.  Its latest version reduces the need for people to decipher swiggly text (instead, clicking a much easier 'I am not a robot' box) and also offers an audio option instead of the visual option. You can read more about it in this accessibility review of the service.

We've hopefully switched all the captchas over to this newer tool but if we missed anywhere please let us know by emailing the page URL (and screenshot, if convenient) to network@crcna.org and we'll check into it.

Ken, yes, we were fortunate, and I thank God for that. I pray that God will sustain you in the challenges you are facing. Mark

Thank You , for your efforts and care for families with crisis! 

I am so touched to hear your story, the Lord carries us during those times! Unfortunately the system you refer too exists here too depending on your financial state! I am facing many health issues and cannot receive all the care I need because of our system of insurance! You were Fortunate to have the care you needed and that makes me thankful!

Good perspective! Thx from someone who needs lower branches! 

That was beautiful in so many ways!

Thanks Mark, and Rod. :-)

Yes, too often if someone has a disability affecting one part of their life, others assume that the disability affects all parts of the person's life. As you point out, that's not true at all. Among some people with disabilities I know, I've seen extraordinary creativity in finding workarounds to get things done. 

No, it will not be recorded. However, Disability Concerns has posted a number of videos, including training videos, on the Network, as well as webinar recordings

Could you tell me whether the conference "Universal Design for Community" will be taped and made available to churches unable to attend the event

 Besides, even if someone without arms can't pack grocery bags, it doesn't mean they CAN'T do ANYTHING else.  Having no arms doesn't mean that people cannot think.   In Québec we have a singer who was born with stubby arms and only three fingers on each hand as well as virtually no legs as a result of his mother having taken Thalidomide during her pregnancy, but the guy still finds a way to strum his guitar and begot perfectly normal kids, though I don't know why I insist on this.  The biggest employment hurdle to overcome for people with disabilities is the narrow-mindedness and lack of imagination of able-bodied people.  Here too we see too many chronically normal people placing roadblocks in front of people with disabilities trying to find gainful employment.

 Abortion is pertinent inasmuch as it is the abortion of children with disabilities such as Down's Syndrome, for example, since a lot of couples will decide to abort a pregnancy when they know that the baby to be born is likely to have the disability.  In fact, some tests such as the one--can't think of the term--where the pregnant mother has some amniotic fluid drawn through a siringe and this liquid is then taken to the nearest lab taped to her body to be kept at body temperature with the purpose of determining whether the fetus has DS or not, so she and her partner can then decide to terminate the pregnancy or not.  I have heard that there are new procedures to make that diagnosis now that are less invasive such as a blood test.

Michele, yes, with regard to suicide, a gracious Christian community can be a powerful healing presence. I appreciate the article you sent me via email: Striking differences in rates of suicide attempts between provinces revealed in mental health findings. I didn't realize that teens and young adults have highest rates of suicide attempts, and yet have the most difficulty getting mental health care. Here too, the church can play a critical, healing role. A friend who has lived with depression and who attempted suicide told me that she told her story recently to her church youth group. She said that the young people were not only attentive, but really benefitted from her dispelling some of the stigma of mental illness by her talking so openly about her own journey. 

Moyes' novel perpetuates a dangerous narrative that it is up to all of us to call out and challenge. Thanks for doing that with this post! 

Thanks for this post, Mark.  I haven't read the book or seen the movie, but I have lived in a state that has chosen to glorify "death with dignity," and in the process diminished the value of human life, especially when it is "less than perfect."

  Good article.  I especially appreciated the fact that mental illness was mentioned as an important factor in suicide attempts, particularly when it is under-treated or untreated altogether.  Having had suicidal thoughts myself when my illness was not diagnosed, let alone treated, I think it is very important that this issue be addressed by the church with compassion BOTH for those who are contemplating it and those who live with survivor guilt, "Why didn't I see the signs?"  Neither would benefit from a condemning attitude.

Angie, thanks for sharing. Yes, we too are so thankful for the health insurance provided for Dylan; otherwise the horror of that time would have been multiplied.  I'm thankful we could focus on Dylan, not on how to pay the bills. Still, it was shattering to make the decision that the most loving thing we could do for our child was to allow him to die. One of the nurses in neo-natal helped us with this by saying, bluntly but accurately, "There are things that are worse than death." I thank God for his sustaining grace through that terrible time and for the support of many loving people. 

Life is precious. Thank you for sharing your story of Dylan, Mark, and for your honesty that there are no easy answers in this life. I'm thankful that as Christians we know that God holds all things in his hands - all the complications of health care - and even life and death are in his strong and loving hands.

Mark, thank you for sharing these very personal reflections about Dylan and the agonizing decisions you and Bev made. I've heard you describe the circumstances before, but reading it now brings a fresh dimension of impact and makes it all so current, even 23 years later.

Thank you, too, for making the connection to Charlie Gard's circumstances, the contrasting approaches to healthcare, and the larger point about what generosity looks like in the context of limited resources. Particularly in light of the political drama still unfolding in the U.S., your prayerful reflections are so helpful in humanizing the challenges, the costs, and the ethics of healthcare.

Thanks for posting this, Mark. Ten months ago, my husband and I had to make the soul-crushing decision to tell the doctors to stop trying to revive our daughter. To this day, I don't know how we had the strength to do that. However, we do take comfort in the fact that just about every medical resource and effort available was used to give our daughter the best chance at life. We always felt that the hospital and its staff valued her life and was committed to helping her thrive. We are also blessed to live in a state that covers the medical expenses of severely premature babies like my daughter. Without that blessing, we would have faced an astronomical hospital bill for her month of life. It breaks my heart that other parents in similar situations aren't blessed with this same level of support and are forced to fight systems that don't value the life of their child in the way they should. 

Steve - yes! We will be recording the webinar and will post it on our Worship Ministries website several days after the webinar takes place. That way many more can take advantage of the learning.

Hi Steve, I know Worship Ministries is planning to post this webinar recording on The Network. Stay tuned later this week! 

Will this webinar be available for listening to at a later time?

Hi Justin, 

I have two copies of Someone Cares, which were given to me from John. Has he run out of copies? If so, I can certainly give you a copy when I'm in the area next.

Blessings, 

Victor

Michele, yes, getting help is so important. It's a huge step, and I would guess for many people it feels like failure. Of course, as you well know, getting help is a step back toward health. I hope that our society, and people in churches especially, will start to view getting help for a mental illness as the same wise decision as getting help for heart trouble or knee pain or vision problems. 

 Guilt is a bad motivation to do things.  I know.  as someone in recovery from schizophrenia, depression was my main negative symptom and guilt the main one of that.  Before I was treated for this illness I felt guilty for breathing, let alone failing to do stuff.  It nearly drove me to suicide, and even after I'd decided not to throw myself into a river I still had suicidal thoughts.  GET HELP.   It's the only way.

Gary, yes, not just triangles within our families, but within the communities of our churches. In answer to your question, I hope and pray that this will be the case, not only for pastors but for everyone else in the church too. 

I agree, thank you, Mark, for raising the subject and giving another nudge to the discussion. Response to mental health crisis is vital, as well as mental health maintenance and prevention of crisis. A quote from Ed Friedman's "Generation to Generation" has stuck with me, that "Stress is less the result of some quantitative notion such as 'overwork' and more the effect of our position in the triangle of our families." I know I've found this helpful when I begin to feel the burdens of ministry, that maybe those burdens are not necessary. Could we create a denominational context where it's normal for pastors to consult with mental health care providers, where pastors continue to explore our own areas of risk? 

 

Kelly, thanks so much for sharing about your own journey. Blessings in your resumption of ministry work!

Clergy mental illness is widespread across the denominational spectrum. My first bout with depression came through a complete awareness of unrealized expectations for  ministry, aka burnout, as a young ordained Pentecostal church planter. Through a prolonged leave of absence, I was able to come to a complete understanding of the cause and finally cures for situational depression (dysthymia). Self-care is of primary importance for long-haul success in ministry. As I result of my mental illness, I lost years of potentially productive pastoral ministry. I am thankful to God and to those who provided the loving care I received for restoration back to health and eventually productive ministry after a 14-year absence due to depression.

The best piece of advice and take-away from that awful dark period was, " why work 55-70 hours per week for 10 years when you can work with health and effectiveness 35-40 hours per week for 40 years.

Self-care is what makes me currently effective in ministry for the long run. Talk to your leadership about the need for self-care. Form a covenant with them to preserve your mental health, so you can run the race with the endurance needed for a full, rewarding career in ministry.

Guilt, what, really? CRC people?!

Thanks very much, Mark. This is one of those issues that church councils need to be aware of at least as much as pastors. Our efforts as pastors to try to be all things to all people is not what St. Paul meant, though we and councils out-guilt ourselves with that mis-interpreted verse selected out of context by adapting it to our idolatrous service to overwork disguised as work ethic. 

Beautiful prayer. Thanks for sharing. 

Here is a prayer I will use this week for our Friendship Sunday

When our daughter Nicole, who has multiple disabilities, still lived with my wife and me, I would sing this blessing to her each evening using Michael Card's Barocha. After I finished, since she cannot use words, she would usually touch my face gently. So thinking about what your wrote about the Lord's name being put on you and Edward, Nicole's touch was her way to put the blessing (and the Lord's name) back on me. Thanks for making these blessed memories even better!

Beautiful! Thanks John for this message which is especially appropriate for this holy week. 

This is a great resource! I'm sharing in a Facebook group our ministry launched for mental health ministry leaders.

Hi Dirk

I am praying that God will give you the help that you need.
In my healing journey I have been helped by friends, family, nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and pastors.
God has used a combination of listening prayer, talk therapy, deliverance ministry, food, books,  music and some meds.
Ask Him for the help you need.
Blessings to you.

posted in: Deliverance

Hi Dirk, I too pray that God will give you grace, strength, and peace, and that he will send people into your life who can help you move toward healing and increasing levels of mental health. Like you, I firmly believe that the Deceiver and his hosts are active in this world, and that they can wreak havoc in our world and in individual's lives. There are times that people need the kind of deliverance you write about. I also firmly believe that mental illnesses have a variety of causes including brain chemistry imbalances, prior trauma, stress and trial in life, and more. God uses many instruments to help people move toward recovery including professional counselors, social workers, and medical doctors including psychiatrists, as well as medication, support groups, hospital psychiatric units, spiritual direction and the encouragement and support of people who love and care for the person dealing with mental illness. Although some people have had to hide their mental illness from fellow church members, others have found their church to be a supportive and encouraging community that helps them move toward healing.  I pray that God will help you find the help you are looking for, and that God will give you hope and healing. 

posted in: Deliverance

 Fine, but you should also seek the help of a psychiatrist.  There is no guarantee that prayers alone will make the mental illness go away.  To be sure, God CAN work miracles, but He doesn't cure all cases of mental illness.  He NEVER took mine away.  So don't put ALL your eggs in the same basket and seek treatment.  God may have other ideas about your illness.

posted in: Deliverance

Praying here too!

Paula Wigboldy

posted in: Deliverance

Hi Dirk, 

I just lifted you up in prayer after reading this.

Blessings, 
Staci

posted in: Deliverance

Doug, Disability Concerns bought 50 hard copies of an expanded version of this book as soon as it came out, and they are sitting in my office. We send a thank you gift to all CRCs that take an offering for DC, and this will be next in line for the churches in the US. I've lobbied a couple Canadian friends to create a Canadian version of the booklet, but that hasn't happened yet. The Putting Faith to Work model is excellent, and its principles are applicable across North America though the stats and resources are US-centric. 

Thanks for the link to the booklet, Mark.  I think its content is excellent.

I don't think it would hurt at all to send a copy, in paper form and perhaps also by email, to the clerk of every local CRC council, and the clerk of every CRC classis.

If all CRC members transformed 90% of their angst about government related politics, and the CRCNA 100% of its, into efforts toward serving directly in their own local areas, whether the disabled or others, much, much more would get done with infinitely more satisfaction.

We don't really have much power at all to overhaul the government, especially at the federal level, in whatever direction.  And we'll forever disagree about what that overhaul should be.  But our power as a church of Jesus Christ to directly impact the lives of many  immediately around us, each in our own communities, is great indeed.  And as to that, I really don't see any disagreement at all.

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Steve Nyenhuis
Linda Roorda
Kelly Vander Pol
Heather DeBoer
Michael Sheriff
Sue Edison-Swift
Michele Gyselinck