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The Blessing of Belonging: A Church's Journey to Inclusivity

Pastor Dave VanderWoude from City Hope GR shares insights on creating an inclusive church for people of all abilities. He discusses his personal journey, challenges in fostering belonging, and the transformative power of inclusivity. Don't miss these interesting stories and insights.

Being Different

I immigrated to the United States when I was 6 years old; a few months shy of turning 7. I started second grade without a word of English. My mother dressed me in what she thought was cute, but her idea of cute in the 80s was not American’s view of a fashionable 7-year-old. So at age 7, I started elementary school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, surrounded by kids that did not look like me and couldn’t talk to me. The games that were played on the playground and the topics talked about in the classroom were foreign to me.

Free Falling: On Seeking God’s Providence as a Person with Disabilities

I harbor an intense dislike for walking across bridges alongside cars.

The Other Side

Seated around a solid wooden table beside a cozy window streaming with sunlight, a close-knit group and I were enjoying pastries, warm coffee, and gentle camaraderie. As we caught up on each other’s lives, a woman shared about a vacation she had recently taken.

When booking her hotel, she hadn’t realized that right across the street was a large encampment where numerous unhoused people were staying. From her high-up hotel room window, she had a bird’s-eye view of the people below. She said this had given her a “clearer picture of how the other side lived.”  

What World War Two airplanes can teach today’s church

Back in World War Two, the United States military had a problem: many of their bombers were being downed by the German counter-air defence. Numerous American flight crews were dying. A solution was devised to add more armour to the planes. However, this slowed them down and made maneuvering difficult. So, the military decided to add increased armour to only the wings and fuselage. This made sense because when the bombers returned from intense fighting in Europe, these were the most bullet-riddled areas.

Three Kinds of Love

A Valentine’s Day Meditation Inflected by Liberation Theology

A Paradigm for Peace: Peacemaking in Disability Theology, Scripture, and Culture

In this digital space, I’ve written a good deal about how people with and without disabilities can embody equity in the church, in terms of inclusive and accessible activities and facilities, inclusive language, employment, housing, and still other topics. I felt as though it was necessary, recently, to write about war and peace.

Heartbreak’s Song

Mindful to not attract the attention of my family, I go off to a quiet corner of my house, carefully shut the door—and cry.

This time, my cascade of tears began with a song on social media of a mother singing to her grown child of her heartfelt love, and of her delight in the wonderful person they grew up to be. With joy, she sings of her pride in her child’s life choices and the good life they built for themself. 


Managing Multifaceted Moods: Depression, Anxiety, Disability, and Life in the Church

In this blog, I’ve written a great deal about the embodiment of equity within the Church for believers with disabilities. I’ve written about some of my experiences of physical and intellectual disability, my relationships to work and housing, healing, oppression, and inclusive language, and how Scripture can help us relate as a community to all those topics. These are good things!

When Love and Brokenness Collide

It’s eviction day, and the neighbours are celebrating. 

For months, a derelict house at the end of our block has been rented by a struggling group of people for whom one glance reveals lives characterized by hardship. Their arrival shepherded a spirit of underlying unease into our normally peaceful street, through loud nighttime arguing, ongoing substance abuse, and suspected petty criminality. When a sheriff arrived this morning to force their departure and board up the house, abundant relief flowed from home to home.


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