yellow pages news jobs events calendar movie times
Rocklin and Roseville Today Events Calendar
   |   Current Temp: 78.0 F (25.6 C)
 

Christian Denomination Has 625 Disability Advocates


Share It.




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

Sierra Shoot Out Water Polo Tournament in RocklinThe Sierra Shoot Out Water Polo tournament is back for another year at Sierra College. The junior college has hosted this high school tournament for over 20 years

What is Slowing the California Housing Recovery?Realtor, Julie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, writes about why the California and Sacramento housing markets are not expanding as fast as expected. Find out what Julie thinks is contributing to a slower real estate market.

Circus Vargas in Roseville this September Roseville,CA -- Get ready for the ultimate entertainment extravaganza for all ages as the circus comes to Roseville.

Hot Pink Fun Run in Downtown Roseville September 28thRegistration is now open for the 7th Annual Hot Pink Fun Run, a family-friendly run, walk and fun zone on Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Monty Python's Spamalot at Roseville TheaterSPAMALOT tells the legendary tale of King Arthur's quest to find the Holy Grail. However, diverting a bit from the true story, this hilarious musical

High Marks for Sierra College Energy Tech StudentsThe Sierra College Energy Technology students who took the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Entry-level exam in June 2014, all passed.

Multiple Sclerosis Becomes Counselor's AssetDuring most of the '70s, Kathe Skinner, now a 65-year-old licensed marriage family therapist in Colorado Springs, Colorado, couldn't figure out what was wrong with her body.

Placer Water Agency Eyes $7 Billion Bond OpportunityFunding for water resource improvements in Placer County could be possible if California voters support the $7.12 billion bond issue on the Nov. 4 ballot, it was

Napa Earthquake Victims Urged to Hire Licensed ContractorsEarthquake: The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is urging residents of Napa Valley and surrounding areas to only hire California-licensed contractors

8 Arrested in Roseville Police Drug and ID Theft OperationRoseville Police detectives, following up on a Roseville drug case, searched a home in Sacramento and found evidence of methamphetamine sales and identity theft involving scores of victims.

Placer County Republican Party Announces EndorsementsThe Placer County Republican Party has announced the following endorsements in local races for the November 2014 election.

Federal Subpoena Served to Placer County Sheriff's OfficeThe Placer County Sheriff's Office has received several inquiries about employee internal investigations and a federal subpoena.




more news

Featured Yellow Pages Categories

Auto

Business

Health and Fitness

Home Improvement and Services