Yellow Pages |   News Updates |   Events Calendar |   Movie Times | Recycling  |   Document Shredding
Rocklin & Roseville Today Events
Celebrating Life...
HOME

Christian Denomination Has 625 Disability Advocates




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.





Placer County News Headlines

Alert Rocklin Resident Helps Police Net Burglary SuspectRocklin, CA- 29 year old Juan Martinez, from Lincoln California, was arrested for residential burglary following a call from an alert Rocklin resident

Public Input sought on Proposed Placer Sports and Event Center in RosevilleRoseville, CA- Placer County is seeking public input for the proposed Placer Sports and Event Center project at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville

Subaru BRZ: Old-school sports carRoseville, CA- A two-door coup that seats four people, the Subaru BRZ breaks the mold somewhat

Deadly Hit and Run in Rural NatomasA 15 year old male from Natomas was killed while riding his bicycle northbound on El Centro Rd north of Moscatel Ave. An unknown dark blue sedan

How Dietary Fiber Helps The Intestines Maintain HealthSACRAMENTO, Calif.) - UC Davis Health researchers have discovered how by-products of the digestion of dietary fiber by gut microbes act as the right fuel to help intestinal cells maintain gut health.

Buying a Home is Still Better Than RentingRoseville, CA-- Home prices continue to rise faster than incomes and new employment, but it is still more cost efficient to own a home than to rent.

Parking Fees being levied at Hidden FallsAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County's Hidden Falls Regional Park in North Auburn is a gem of a park. Unfortunately, parking can be hard to find, especially during weekends

$22.5 Million Approved for Placer County BuildingsAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County Board of Supervisors approve an investment plan that will allocate a minimum of $4.5 million annually over the next five years

Placer SPCA Sees Success in Waiving Adoption FeesRoseville, Calif. - Adoption fees are waived for all animals, without exception, at the Placer SPCA during the month of August for its "full hearts, empty kennels" campaign

Classic Car Show in Grass Valley August 25(Grass Valley, CA) Cascades of Grass Valley, a senior living community located at 415 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley, will be hosting a classic car show on Friday, August 25

Warriors Set to Start 2017 Volleyball CampaignROCKLIN, Calif. - The William Jessup women's volleyball team will start the season this week hosting the Warrior Invitational

Podcasts for Fundraising Professionals and DonorsWith that goal in mind, Eric Hogue and David Pineschi of William Jessup University are regularly producing light-hearted podcasts each month


NEWS: In Case You Missed It