Breaking Barriers Summer 2021

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Breaking Barriers Summer 2021 Theme: THE ARTS AND DISABILITY

The Holy Spirit has gifted some people with imagination and artistry that generate delight for all of us when it finds expression. In this issue, people with and without disabilities share their creative expression in poetry, story, song, and image.  

"Wait. You're Disabled!"

Editor Terry DeYoung examines the idea that non-disabled people can be surprised at the idea that someone living with a disability can be creative. He reminds readers that living with a disability often requires creativity and imagination to work in a world that is ableist in nature.

Of Gardens, Lakes, and Whimsy

Rose Redmond is an activity coordinator and works at the drop-in art program at Brothers and Sisters Homes in Holland, Michigan. With permission, she shares with us the wonderful artwork created by the artists she has the pleasure of connecting with in this program.

Pillowtalk: Poetic Responses to Adversity

Ivan Mulder wrote free-verse poems about his wife, Ruth, during the first year following her death. Ruth experienced disability challenges for 45 years after being stricken with transverse myelitis. Through his creative writing, Ivan shares his love and deep respect for his wife. 

Quiet Place

Cassie Lokker is Worship and Music Director at First Reformed Church in Baldwin, Wisconsin. Cassie has been visually impaired since birth and serves as her church's Disability Advocate, as well as the Regional Advocate for RCA Minnesota Classis. She has written and released "Quiet Place" to all digital music platforms and shares it with us in this article.

Creative Expressions

Michèle Gyselinck is the Regional Advocate for CRC Classis Eastern Canada. She lives with schizophrenia and expresses herself creatively through painting. 

Managing Anxiety through Art and Acting

Kyla Hewis is a university student who has been very active in the theatre community since high school. She has grown up in an artistic household where she was encouraged to paint and draw from a very young age. Kyla lives with anxiety. Art and theatre help her manage the anxieties of everyday life.

The Intersection of Faith, Creativity, and Disability

Prior to working for CRC Disability Concerns ministry, Becky worked as an art therapist and at an art gallery. Art has offered her the opportunity to connect with others and help them connect with the creativity that is within, while also giving them a new form of personal expression.

Next Issues

Fall 2021—Speech differences. People living with speech differences—such as stuttering and cerebral palsy that affects speech—face various challenges, such as avoidance of interacting with others, not being allowed to finish their thoughts, and even assumptions others make about their intelligence. If you live with a speech difference, please tell us a story or give us your advice in no more than 400 words. Send your submission by August 2.

Winter 2022—Young people with disabilities. In Canada and the United States, about 13 percent of people ages 15–30 live with a disability. Are you one of them? By September 27, please tell us a story (up to 400 words) about living with a disability when nearly 90 percent of your peers do not. 

Awards and Past Issues

This newsletter and the Disability Concerns blog (network.crcna.org/disability), co-published by CRC and RCA Disability Concerns ministries, received three awards from the Associated Church Press recently for work done in 2020: 

  • For the Best in Class-Newsletter category, the Award of Excellence (first place) for Breaking Barriers

  • For the Reporting and Writing-Theme Issue category, the Award of Excellence (first place) for Breaking Barriers, Spring 2020, on visual impairment and blindness

  • In the blog category, the Award of Merit (second place) for the Disability Concerns blog on the Network. 

You can find this issue in a variety of alternative formats (print-friendly layout, large print, audio) attached below.

Edición en español

(Korean coming soon)

In addition, find back issues of Breaking Barriers and editions in Español and in 한국어 (plus a link for electronic subscriptions), at either the CRC website (www.crcna.org/disability) or RCA website (www.rca.org/disability).

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