Congregational Life Ministries and ADNet extend agreement to work together




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From an ADNet release

In January 2016, Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADNet) and the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries extended an agreement to work together to advocate for persons with disabilities in the church. Since 2014, the Church of the Brethren has had a representative serving on the ADNet board of directors and has worked in cooperation with ADNet’s mission to “support Anabaptist congregations, families, and persons touched by disabilities to nurture inclusive communities.”

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This renewed agreement provides for increased cooperation in disabilities ministry over the next three years. Debbie Eisenbise, director of Intergenerational Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, with primary staff responsibility for disability ministries in the denomination, serves on the board of Anabaptist Disabilities Network. She will work with ADNet staff, Kathy Nofziger Yeakey, executive director, and Christine Guth, program director, on developing resources and providing communication to support families, individuals, and congregations ministering to and with persons with disabilities of all kinds, including mental illnesses.

Church of the Brethren congregations with such a ministry emphasis are invited to join the Open Roof Fellowship ( www.brethren.org/disabilities/openroof.html ) for mutual support and encouragement. The Church of the Brethren commitment to this ministry is rooted in the 2006 Annual Conference resolution: “Commitment of Accessibility and Inclusion (ADA)” by which the denomination pledges “to work to ensure that all may worship, serve, be served, learn, and grow,” and to examine and rectify barriers to persons with disabilities with the goal of making all denominational sites accessible.

Rebekah Flores, a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., serves as an ADNet field associate on behalf of the Church of the Brethren. She is a resource person for the districts, congregations, and denomination of the Church of the Brethren. In 2016, she will serve as an ombudsman for persons with disabilities at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in North Carolina.

Anabaptist Disabilities Network currently has three volunteer field associates serving in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. A fourth, who writes for the blog, currently lives in the United Kingdom. ADNet staff and field associates are available for consultation, workshops, and presentations on issues related to disabilities.

The most recent publication developed by Anabaptist Disabilities Network is the book, “Circles of Love,” featuring stories from various Anabaptist congregations who provide supportive communities for persons with disabilities and their families. Other resources published by ADNet include “Supportive Care in the Congregation: Providing a Congregational Network of Care for Persons with Significant Disabilities,” and “After We’re Gone: A Christian Perspective on Estate and Life Planning for Families that Include a Dependent Member with a Disability” (MennoMedia).

Contact Debbie Eisenbise for more information about the Anabaptist Disabilities Network and the Church of the Brethren disabilities ministry, at deisenbise@brethren.org or 800-323-8039.

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