yellow pages news jobs events calendar movie times RSS News Feeds
Rocklin and Roseville Today Served Up Daily
   |   Current Temp: 67.0 F (19.4 C)
 

Christian Denomination Has 625 Disability Advocates


SHARE with Friend




Mark Stephenson's daughter Nicole was born 25 years ago with severe multiple disabilities, including eye and brain damage, and cerebral palsy. Then six years ago, Stephenson's mother, now 92, entered an assisted living facility because of dementia.

It was these experiences and others that helped prepare him for his current position as director of Disability Concerns with the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

The 54-year-old Stephenson said, "When Nicole was born, I wasn't thinking. I was feeling. And I was terrified. She was born prematurely at 26 weeks. She was so tiny, hardly breathing, and we were in a hospital with medical personnel all around. She was put on a triage table to warm her and was intubated immediately." His daughter wasn't allowed home for nearly seven months.

He said, "When meeting her today, new people know right away she lives with various disabilities because she doesn't speak or walk independently. But when taking time to know her, people learn she has a joyful personality. I like to say she lives joyfully with multiple severe disabilities."

Nicole has lived in a group home the last seven years. Though nonverbal, she understands speech and communicates her own way. For example, a couple weeks ago in church, said Stephenson, a particularly joyful hymn was playing. Nicole raised her arm in the air and shouted, "Woo, woo!"

"And after she moved to the group home," he continued, "the staff began praying with her at night. Most nights, when they finish praying, she will put her arm up and stroke the cheek of the person offering the prayer."

Stephenson said having Nicole as his daughter, in many respects, has become his and his wife's identity. He was trained as a pastor and served congregations for 17 years, but has served the last six as director of Disability Concerns for his 300,000-member denomination. His wife was trained as a secondary education teacher and has spent the last twelve years teaching special education.

In part, he spends his time overseeing 625 disability advocates that help churches in his denomination engage people with disabilities and include them in church life. Stephenson oversees a Facebook page, blog, newsletters, and conferences. He does some projects in conjunction with the Reformed Church in America.

Finally, he likes seeing church buildings become more accessible, but becomes even more excited seeing attitudes about people with disabilities change.






more news Print This Article


Placer County News Headlines

Inter-Faith Task Force Seeks New MembersThe Roseville Police Department is hosting an Inter-Faith Task Force comprised of congregational leaders and security teams for churches and other

Lake Tahoe Basin Community Plan Environmental ReviewWith the release of the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Environmental Impact Statement/Report, the ongoing update to the complex Tahoe Basin Community Plan continues to make progress

Preventive Autism Treatment Focus of Research AwardsResearch could affect nearly one in every four cases of autism among children in the U.S.

Simple Changes Helping California Small Businesses and EntrepreneursIt's not easy doing business in California. In order to be successful, business owners must overcome many challenges, one of which is dealing with California's complicated tax system

Hyundai scores with Santa Fe SUVsOne of Hyundai's more impressive vehicles is the 2014 Santa Fe, a sport utility vehicle that has three rows and seats seven. It replaced the 2012 Veracruz in the Hyundai lineup.

Adoption Involving Fetal Alcohol SyndromeLaura Bloch adored his picture. "My husband and I had just been approved through an adoption agency and the agency sent out a letter with a picture of a child on it,"

Placer County Wines Honored with 52 AwardsPlacer County Wine Trail wines have delighted judges' taste buds again at this year's California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

Border Crisis and Illegal Immigration in the United StatesCongressman McClintock recently delivered the following remarks on the House floor regarding the United States Border Crisis.

Influences of Cognitive Abilities in Old Age StudyEarly life experiences, such as childhood socioeconomic status and literacy, may have greater influence on the risk of cognitive impairment late in life than such demographic characteristics

Big Check Scam Targets Roseville BusinessRoseville, CA -- Recently a Roseville business person received a large order for merchandise from an overseas destination.

Supervisors Convene at Squaw Valley for Tahoe IssuesPlacer County, CA -- Under warm and partly cloudy July Sierra Nevada skies, the Placer Board of Supervisors held a regularly scheduled two-day meeting in Squaw Valley.

Should Art be added to STEM?The Sierra College STEM Collaborative published "Exploring STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics" by Elizabeth Dayton, Ph.D. to explore the evidence in support of adding arts and innovation to the national effort to encourage STEM education and careers.




more news