On behalf of our entire team at Key Ministry, I’d like to extend our thanks to Jackie Mills-Fernald, Rosie Oakley and their crew at McLean Bible Church for graciously inviting us to be a part of the 2013 Accessibility Summit. Every time I’ve been able to attend, I’ve come away with three or four invaluable new contacts who have contributed greatly to our work at Key Ministry, including (five years ago) a certain youthful inclusion ministry leader with a reputation for using hair as a vehicle of self-expression. This year was no exception. I’ll share a few highlights for those who couldn’t attend.
I wasn’t familiar with Emily Colson or the story of her son (Max) prior to the Summit outside of an awareness that she had written a very popular book with her father about their family’s experience with autism. Max has a remarkable capacity for bringing joy to the people who surround him, but Emily also has a remarkable capacity to view Max from the perspective of his giftedness and is clearly his biggest fan. Emily has a great passion for young adults with autism and is likely to do marvelous things to ensure that the kids of this generation with autism will be loved, cared for and appropriately supported as adults. Here’s a brief interview introducing Emily and Max…
A couple of years ago, I shared a review of Barb Newman’s book Autism and Your Church, but I’d never actually met Barb or heard her speak until this past weekend. She’s good. Very good. I didn’t fully appreciate the depth of her training and experience, or the extent of her involvement in helping Christian schools successfully integrate kids who would qualify for special education services in the public schools. While beyond the scope of our mission through Key Ministry, I’d want our team to support Barb as she helps tear down the barriers that exist for families of kids with learning differences who long for their children to receive a faith-based education in a Christian school. As someone closer to the end of my career than the beginning, I appreciate the difference that results because Barb brings a lifetime of experience to her work. I invite you to learn more about Barb and her crew at CLC Networks.
Amy Kendall (pictured with Katie Wetherbee) currently serves as Disability Ministry Coordinator at Saddleback Church and is one of the very few people I’ve encountered in this field of ministry with a graduate degree in the mental health field (Marriage, Family and Child Counseling). I’m excited by the potential for Saddleback to do great things in taking the lead on helping the church to more effectively minister to families impacted by mental illness. Amy’s uniquely positioned to be a fabulous resource to Saddleback as they move forward.
Finally, Matt Mooney wasn’t a presenter at this year’s Summit, but I strongly suspect he will be in the future. Matt is the founder of 99 Balloons, a great young organization helping others to engage persons with special needs locally through their rEcess respite care initiative, and globally, through a series of initiatives to improve the lives of kids with disabilities. Matt has a huge vision for how the church can demonstrate the love of Christ through serving persons with special needs, mobilizing the followers of Christ through effective use of storytelling and social media. He has a gift for telling stories. If fact, it’s more likely that you’re familiar with Eliot (Matt’s son) than you are with Matt and his work…
Finally, I have to admit I’m pretty proud of our crew. Most organizations are fortunate to have one communicator who can teach with excellence…everyone on our team has both the presentation skills and the depth of experience to represent us well. They also have lots of fun when they get together with others who share their passion for wanting all kids and families to get to know Jesus. God was honored and a good time was had by all.
Block out April 4-5, 2014 on your schedule…you’ll have a worthwhile experience at the 2014 Accessibility Summit!
Our Key Ministry website is a resource through which church staff, volunteers, family members and caregivers can register for upcoming training events, request access to our library of downloadable ministry resources, contact our staff with training or consultation requests, access the content of any or all of our three official ministry blogs, or contribute their time, talent and treasure to the expansion of God’s Kingdom through the work of Key Ministry. Check it out today!