Mientras trabajamos por la justicia racial y el cambio sistémico, debemos mantener a los niños y adultos de color con discapacidades al frente de nuestras discusiones y acciones. El siguiente artículo adaptado analiza la interseccionalidad pasada por alto del racismo y el capacitismo. También tiene enlaces a otros recursos sugeridos.
Welcome to Disability Concerns. My name is Mark Stephenson. I’m here to help you find the best ways for your church to become an accessible, warm, hospitable, and loving place for people with disabilities. At Disability Concerns we like to say, “Everybody belongs. Everybody serves.”
After receiving an M.Div. degree, I served as pastor of two Christian Reformed churches for a total of 17 years, and I have served as the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church since July 2006. My wife Bev and I have four living children, including our oldest child, Nicole, who was born extremely prematurely in the late 1980’s and lives with severe, multiple impairments. That label does not define her. She loves magazines, loves interacting with people, loves roller-coasters and wild amusement park rides, and she loves to worship and to pray with God’s people. In any group, she shares her own unique gifts.
God used Nicole to lead me into a variety of involvements with people with disabilities and their families including these:
- Chairing the board of Special Education Ministry of Holland (a Friendship group)
- Serving with working groups for various ministries with people with disabilities
- Directing the Disability Concerns ministry of my denomination.
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to speak to groups across North America about church and inclusion, and welcome such opportunities. Likewise, I welcome this opportunity to assist you and your congregation. If you cannot find a resource that you would find helpful, or if I can assist you in some way, please be in touch.
Social distancing has not stopped many of us from speaking out for an end to the killing of unarmed black men and women by police. Did you know that 30 to 80 percent of those killed have been persons with some type of disability?
30 years ago today, the US adopted landmark civil rights legislation called the Americans with Disabilities Act. The worst barriers faced by people with disabilities usually result from attitudes and environments that we all create and could change.
Normal has not been good for everyone. It is time for a normal that restores an identity in Christ in us and all of our neighbors, especially our black neighbors.
Shortly after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, a team from CRC Disability Concerns recognized its importance for congregations, especially because the ADA explicitly excluded faith communities from its requirements.
Many designers place form over function, thereby excluding some members of their congregation from participation in worship. Learn how your church can become more accessible.
From the title to the final, frightening story with which the book concludes, Shar Boerema clings to hope in God and God’s faithful plan for the lives of everyone she loves.
In spite of facts, the president of the United States has been using his bully pulpit in recent days to finger mental illness as a cause of mass shootings. This assertion is foolish and dangerous.
As in all other things, we need sanctification. To sanctify our spaces, our communications, and our attitudes, new ideas can help. Here are five ideas for belonging and an example for each.
Cassie, I'm so thankful that God gave you this song and that you have shared it with the world. Every time I listen I worship. I appreciate that you move from the quiet place with Jesus, to...posted on: Quiet Place
Friends, thanks for your kind words. I plan to close out my full-time work with the CRC around the end of 2021. I'm praying that in these last few months I'll pass the baton to current and future...posted on: Announcing Mark Stephenson’s Retirement
Ken, I have a child who was enrolled in Special Education from age 3 through age 26, and she benefited greatly from the services she received throughout those years. Through the course of all that...posted on: Support Students; Don’t Villainize Them
Jodi, thanks for this. Our church had been buying presents and distributing them to families for years. After reading When Helping Hurts, we decided that it would be more just and affirming for...
Hilda, thanks for your comment. Author and parent of a child with disabilities, Tom Reynolds, talks about the "cult of normalcy" in his book A Vulnerable Communion. If I understand him correctly,...
Dan, years ago, an African American friend, and fellow CRC member, told me that most Black, Indigenous, and People of Color do not post to the Network because of the "negative spirit" on the...posted on: "Censorship" on The Network
There's a lot of talk in this conversation and among many Christians across the internet which imply that if something "sounds" like something a critical race theorist would say, then it must be...posted on: "Censorship" on The Network
Bonnie, thanks for putting the reprehensible words of Rep. Yoho as well as the responses of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and of Bread for the Word into a much broader context of the systemic sin which...posted on: A Reflection: Is This OK?
Once again, Dan, the term "white privilege" does not describe a theory, but a wide variety of practices in society that give us white people advantages over people of color. In banking, here's a...posted on: We Must Not Go Back to Normal
Chris, thanks for this. The Christian Reformed Church's Office of Social Justice has a rich and deep library of justice prayers. Most of the prayers are written in response to specific situations...posted on: Seeking Justice AND Praying