The Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America have begun a partnership to work closely together in ministering to members with disabilities.
"The mutual purpose of these two ministries in working together will be, individually and in partnership, to help CRC and RCA churches to become hospitable, inclusive, and healthy communities," says their ministry agreement.
The agreement says that they will be communities that intentionally seek:
- To end the isolation and disconnectedness of persons with disabilities and their families;
- To nurture the spiritual lives of people with disabilities so that they become professing and active members of their churches; and
- To encourage the gifts of people with disabilities so that they can serve God fully in their churches."
Through this partnership, both denominations also see the opportunity for churches to reach outside their walls as well.
"Intentionality is the key since people with disabilities often feel on the margins of society and church," noted the Rev. Mark Stephenson, director of the CRC's Disability Concerns office. "By working together in this new way, our denominations can become more effective in showing Christ’s love and encouraging the gifts of individuals who live with disabling conditions."
Joining Stephenson from the RCA is the Rev. Terry DeYoung. DeYoung, who recently accepted the position of coordinator for disability concerns for the RCA, will be responsible for coordination of disability concerns within the denomination while working closely with regional synods, classes, and individual congregations.
"As a person with a disability, I am thrilled that the RCA and CRC have joined in this partnership and have taken this important step to acknowledge the gifts of people with disabilities and to underscore the importance of utilizing the gifts of all God’s people to fulfill the church’s mission," DeYoung said. "I am honored to assist members, congregations, and assemblies of the RCA and CRC in this way.