Hello! My name is Miriam Spies and I am so pleased to begin working out of the Burlington office as the Communications and Volunteer Specialist for Disability Concerns and Safe Church. I feel called to support this work where all belong, all serve, and all may live in respect and with dignity. Indeed, I believe this is part of our work as Jesus’ disciples seeking the kingdom of God on earth.
I most recently served as a young families and young adults minister and part of this work involved creating places/community where all felt safe and supported to grow in faith. Prior to this work, I have been involved in camping and youth ministries.
I live with Cerebral Palsy, a physical disability that impacts my mobility as well as my speech. I also have a guide dog, Wendell, who sleeps by my side! He can open doors, fetch items, go get help, and other small tasks! CP occurs as a result of lack of oxygen during birth, and so I have never known any other life! I bring this “disability lens” to all aspects of work and life.
You can reach me at [email protected]
I have learned that both in creating safe places and “inclusive” communities, relationships are key. I have also learned that relationships, based in mutuality, take time. This is the case for both Safe Church Ministries and Disability Concerns – relationships based on trust, mutuality, and supported by God’s grace are essential. Though these are separate ministries, I see potential for crossover and learnings from each other as often, more “marginalized” people seek to find their voice, dignity, and safety. It is my hope that through this work, I can challenge and support you and we can grow together.
I have much to learn as I start this new journey! I grew up in The United Church of Canada as a double PK (preachers’ kid). During my university years, I became more involved in ecumenical settings like KAIROS and Student Christian Movement (SCM) and discovered the beauty, as well as some struggles, of working in partnership with other denominations. Since 2013, I have served on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. In 2015, I was ordained within The United Church of Canada. As well, I am currently finishing my thesis in the Graduate Certificate of Disability and Ministry from Western Theological Seminary.