I’ve been overthinking retirement for several years, so for that reason alone it’s a relief to finally put a period at the end of a very long, convoluted, confusing, run-on sentence. I was hired into my first real job exactly 50 years ago this month, when I was a junior in high school, and I’ve been working ever since.
I was a sportswriter for the first 10 years of my working life, then a pastor in a local RCA church, then an editor for the RCA’s monthly magazine, and finally, for the last 13 years, the RCA’s first-ever staff person in Disability Concerns. I honestly enjoyed each one of those roles, and I take no credit for planning out any of them years in advance. Each came to me as an invitation that I attribute to the Holy Spirit’s work, and I entered each one with joyful anticipation. As enjoyable and significant as each one of those positions was, none has rivaled the deep satisfaction, gratitude, and personal meaning that I have experienced in this work with Disability Concerns.
To begin this work by putting flesh on a beautiful partnership agreement with CRC Disability Concerns has been a gift to me and to the RCA. The immediate welcome I received in September 2009 from people like Mark Stephenson, Hank Kuntz, Ralph Bus, and others who had been deeply invested in CRC Disability Concerns was a foretaste of what was to come whenever I met disability advocates throughout Canada and the United States. As I’ve said many times in many places, this partnership in Disability Concerns is the poster child for how the RCA and CRC can partner in ministry that accomplishes far more than either one of our denominations could do on its own.
I’ve been honored to work with incredible staff people from both denominations who have served our churches and volunteers with passion, integrity, and humility—Virginia Mauchmar, Heather DeBoer, Miriam Spies, Becky Jones, Joann Koning, and Erika Fleming, to name a few. And I could not have asked for two more fantastic, selfless, delightful peers to lead Disability Concerns with than Mark Stephenson and Lindsay Wieland Capel. I cherish them both.
Disability Concerns has influenced me more deeply than I know—certainly more than I have influenced Disability Concerns. Now I look forward to the extra time I’ll have in retirement for volunteer roles, both within and beyond the church, and I am confident that most of those will have a connection to disability. Thank you for this incredible gift!