I came across Libby Peterson’s Inclusion Fusion presentation in the process of assembling resources for a ministry leader in another city. The topic of Libby’s talk was relational-based respite care, but she presented a larger vision for relationally-based disability ministry that was truly remarkable. While I was present for the live taping of this talk (done without any editing or retakes), I didn’t fully appreciate the wisdom or power of what she had to say until I went back and watched for a second time.
Libby’s vision for disability ministry doesn’t require a large facility, dozens of volunteers, a massive infrastructure or even a highly committed church leadership team. It’s absolutely consistent with the content of Jesus’ core teaching in the Gospel. And ministry done in the manner in which she describes is incredibly powerful in sharing who Jesus is with folks very much in need of His love.
Here’s Libby’s video…this is less than twenty minutes in length and well-worth the time…
In addition to serving as Key Ministry’s Vice-President, Libby is the Director of Family Life at Bay Presbyterian Church. She serves on staff at BPC with Julie Jones, one of our former Board members who serves with incredible passion and wisdom as Director of Bay Presbyterian’s Family Ministry Center.
Allow me to use this opportunity to “brag on” one of our former Board members. Yesterday’s Cleveland paper included a feature article on the remarkable work Julie is doing, together with volunteers from Bay Presbyterian in purchasing and renovating the campus of a former Catholic church on the near West Side of the city to demonstrate God’s love to the people of an economically disadvantaged area.
Julie’s team has created a campus that will house multiple church plants, housing for disabled veterans, a school for kids of middle school age with severe learning disabilities, office space for ministries operating in the city, housing for college students doing volunteer social work and missionaries, art shows, concerts and a coffeehouse featuring a sidewalk cafe. The campus is being maintained and operated with the support of hundreds of volunteers from the church and fueled through partnerships with other like-minded Christians from multiple traditions and denominations.
We at Key Ministry owe our existence to the vision, encouragement, resources and support Bay Presbyterian has provided us from the time of our inception to this very day. I have no doubt that the passion I have for wanting to see all families connect with a caring and supportive church is grounded my involvement with Bay Presbyterian, surrounded by gifted and talented leaders such as Libby and Julie.
Bonus: Make sure you check out Libby’s post on partnering with parents from our blog series last winter on applying family ministry approaches in serving families touched by disabilities.