UCC Disabilities Ministries Seeks Nominations for Board of Directors-2015

UCC Disabilities Ministries FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (April 17, 2015)

Contact: Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, UCCDM Secretary kelli@womenwhospeakinchurch.com

The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board’s Nominations Committee is seeking people who are passionate about disability ministry who would like to serve on our Board.  Our Board is made up of people with disabilities, professionals who work in the disability field, and family members of people with disabilities.  Our mission is to encourage our denomination to create worship and meeting places, programs and leadership, classes, and activities that are accessible to all (A2A) and welcoming and inclusive of all persons with disabilities.

Some of our short term goals include increasing our voice and presence from the pews to the national planning boards; development of curriculum and programs for people with intellectual disabilities; building the Kreyer Scholarship Fund for students with disabilities who wish to pursue theological education; and increasing our web and social media presence.

Someone interested in serving with us should be someone who is a member of a UCC church; regularly reads, responds to, and is comfortable with using email; can devote a minimum of ten (10) hours a month to this work, which includes a monthly conference call meeting of about 90 minutes to two hours. Being a Board Director includes a willingness to make a financial commitment to our disability ministry each year and  serve on at least one Board subcommittee. At this time we are looking to fill a term that will end in September 2017, should any other seat come open between now and the end of September 2015 the pool of applicants replying to this call shall be considered. Applications must be received by May 15, 2015 or contact should be made with the UCCDM Secretary to explain why that deadline can not be met.

We encourage interested candidates to visit our website at http://www.uccdm.org to learn more about us. Located there are Board updates, our blog, and the application. We welcome all those with a great passion for disability ministry above all. In exchange, we offer you an opportunity to learn new skills and experience personal growth and knowledge of the workings of our denomination.

Rev. Lynda Bigler, Chair UCC Disabilities Ministries Board

Click the link to go to the UCCDM Board Director Application

UCC Disability Activist Wins National Award.

Rachel Chapman SDFueling Impact, the current theme of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, refers to raising awareness by sharing life experiences in order to speak up for medical research funding, address insurance and pharmaceutical companies’ responsibilities to consumers, lobby lawmakers to increase and protect the rights of all who have or need medical coverage, and more.

Rachel Chapman, a member of Christian Fellowship UCC in San Diego, CA, fuels impact and in November 2014 was inducted into the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Advocacy Hall of Fame.  In March, at the Public Policy Conference in Washington, DC, Rachel was again recognized for this honor.  March is MS Awareness Month and the perfect time to hold the Society’s Public Policy Conference where over 300 activists from throughout the country also took a day to visit the offices of legislators to discuss issues important to not only those impacted by MS but all medical challenges.

Rachel has been an MS Activist since her diagnosis over 10 years ago. In her position as the chairperson of the local chapter’s Government Relations Committee, she builds relationships with legislators and their staff at the local, state and federal levels to be a voice of the MS community.  Rachel is also a member of the National Content Advisory Committee, a member of the Scholarship Review Committee and general volunteer.  Her team, Rachel’s Warriors, will participate in their 11th San Diego MS Walk on April 25.Rachel Chapman SD Award

Advocacy has become a family affair. Last year Kevin, Rachel’s husband, gave testimony on male caregivers to the State Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-term Care and their daughter Ashley is the Manager of Advocacy for the Virginia Multiple Sclerosis Society. The three were speakers during one of the sessions at the Public Policy Conference.

Rachel’s activism is not only for multiple sclerosis. She is a member of the Southern Association’s Inclusion Team and the UCC Disabilities Board where she is currently working on the Widening the Welcome conference and a Synod recognition of the 35th  Anniversary of Disabilities Ministries and the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Call For UCCDM Lenten Reflections

UCC Disability Ministries Seeks Lenten Reflections

Last year the UCC Disabilities Ministries Board posted Lenten reflections to their website. These reflections were based on the Lenten lectionary and were provided for Ash Wednesday, Sundays in Lent, and Maundy Thursday-Easter Sunday.  These reflections offered views of the biblical texts through the lens of disability and provided new and/or alternate ways to preach, teach, reflect upon or pray over familiar passages of the Bible.  These reflections were written by people with disabilities or people with significant knowledge of persons with disabilities.

As Lent approaches, we wish to once again provide these resources to assist pastors and parishioners, church leaders and pastoral caregivers in their Lenten studies, preaching, work, and caregiving. We invite those who wish to write similar reflections this year to choose a date below and submit your reflection to: submissions@uccdm.org by the deadlines listed.

Note that all submissions must address the text through a lens of disability to be considered. Thank you in advance for your submission.

The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board

Publishing, Identity, and Communications Committee


Instructions for the Reflection:


Must be based on Lenten Lectionary

Maximum number of words:  900

Quotations of others’ work is not permitted

Format:  word doc, Google doc, email text

Authors will not receive compensation for their reflections

Authors will be notified if selected


Dates and deadlines for reflections and submissions


Ash Wednesday Feb 18

Submission due Feb 12


First Sunday of Lent Feb 22

Submission due Feb 12


Second Sunday of Lent Mar 1

Submission due Feb 19


Third Sunday in Lent Mar 8

Submission due Feb 26


Fourth Sunday in Lent Mar 15

Submission due Mar 5


Fifth Sunday in Lent Mar 22

Submission due Mar 12


Palm Sunday Mar 29

Submission due Mar 19


Maundy Thursday Apr 2

Submission due Mar 19


Good Friday Apr 3

Submission due Mar 19


Holy Saturday Apr 4

Submission due Mar 19


Easter Sunday Apr 5

Submission due Mar 19


Easter Monday Apr 6

Submission due Mar 19


UCCDM Welcomes New Directors to the Board of Directors

In late June 2014, the UCCDM Board of Directors issued a call for self-nominations for the UCCDM Board of Directors. Twenty-three nominations were received. Five persons have been invited to join the current UCCDM Board of Directors. The new UCCDM Directors fills three vacated seats and two new seats to bring representation on the Board to twelve Directors. Three persons from those who self-nominated have been asked to join the Board of Directors for the class of 2015-2021. Another Nomination cycle is not expected until 2017.

A total of eight out of twenty-three nominees were invited to Join the UCCDM Board of Directors. Of the twenty-three nominees: 35% are male and 65% female; 52% are lay persons, 17% are ordained, 13% are commissioned, and 17% declined to state; 4.4% were young adults. Of the eight persons invited to serve on the UCCDM Board 37.5% are male and 62.5% female; 25% ordained; 12.5% commissioned; 50% lay; and 12.5 % declined to state; 12.5% are young adults.

New Board of Director terms will start in November 2014. The 2014-2015 UCCDM Board of Directors will welcome five new Directors. Danielle Rochford of the Vermont Conference and Rev. Anthony Sullivan Jr. of the Illinois Conference will join the Director Class of 2015. Rev. Nancy Erickson of the Nebraska Conference and Minister of Communications Brenda Waleff of the Penn Central Conference will join the Director Class of 2017. Mrs. Rachel Chapman of the Southern California Nevada Conference will join the Director Class of 2019. The addition of these new Directors will alter the composition of the UCCDM Board of Directors for 2014-2015  making the 2014-2015 Board 25% male and 75% female; and 66.6% ordained, 8.3% commissioned, 25% lay persons; and 8.3% young adult.

Three of the current UCCDM Board of Directors will rotate off the Board in October 2015. Persons who self nominated in 2014 have been invited to fill the Board of Directors seats opening in 2015 as follows: Mr. Paul Fogle of the Penn Central Conference will join the Director class of 2019 to even out the Board rotations; Mrs. Terry Martinez of the South Central Conference and Mr. David Ridings of the Nebraska Conference will join the Class of 2021. Danielle Rochford of the Vermont Conference and Rev. Anthony Sullivan Jr. of the Illinois Conference are eligible to extend their service on the UCCDM Board of Directors to the class of 2021. The 2015-2017 UCCDM Board of Directors is projected to be composed of 33.3% male, and 66.7% female; and 41.7% ordained, 8.3% commissioned, 50% lay persons; and 8.3% young adult.

The current UCCDM Board of Directors is eager to welcome the new Director starting in 2014 and 2015. The new Directors will bring to the Board new experiences of disability, including a person with Autism, persons who use power chairs, persons with hidden disabilities, family members of people with developmental disabilities, as well as HIV/AIDS advocates to the Board. The newly named Directors also bring a wealth of skills to the Board including fundraising, communication, inclusive camps, event planning, fiscal management, and web development.


UCCDM Update November 2014

Greetings to those who may be interested to know about the work of the UCC Disability Ministries Board–Friends, UCC Members, UCC Clergy, UCC persons with disability and our ecumenical partners,

This is to provide you with an update of the work of the UCC Disability Ministry (UCCDM) Board of Directors since our last update published in June 2014.

For the past year the UCCDM Board of Directors has been focusing on three main goals: strengthening relationships, strengthening the A2A (Accessible to All) program, and continuing our ecumenical work.

  • Relationships-The UCCDM Board of Directors has been advocating for some disability ministry recognition at the General Synod 30 scheduled for June 26-30, 2015 in Cleveland. The UCCDM submitted a proposal to present two workshops at the upcoming Synod; both proposals were rejected. The UCCDM plans to host a booth with the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network (UCCMHN) in the exhibit hall at Synod 30. UCCDM has also made plans to sponsor a luncheon at Synod which will  highlight the work of UCCDM, celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, and provide an opportunity for the presentation of the UCCDM Awards. UCCDM Delegates to Synod 30 will be Rev. Craig Modhal, Rev. Susan Burns, Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, and Dr. Kevin Pettit.
  • Relationships-The United Church Board has named a search committee for the next General President and Minister of the United Church of Christ. While a person with disabilities was not named to serve on the search committee, the UCCDM has been invited to submit questions that should be asked of potential candidates.
  • Relationships-The UCCDM is partnering with the UCCMHN to plan another Widening the Welcome Conference scheduled for September 24-26, 2015 in Hartford Connecticut. Rev. Susan Burns is the UCCDM Co-Chair of Widening the Welcome 2015 along with  Rev. Alan Johnson the UCCMHN Co-Chair for the Widening the Welcome 2015.
  • Relationships-In late June 2014 the UCCDM issued a call for self-nominations for the UCCDM Board of Directors. Twenty-three nominations were received. Five persons have been invited to join the UCCDM Board of Directors; this fills three vacated seats and two additional seats to bring the Board to twelve Directors. Three persons from those nominated have been asked to join the Board of Directors for the class of 2015-2021.
  • A2A-There had been a desire to make the A2A Resource booklet “Anybody, Everybody, Christ’s Body” more user-friendly. The A2A subcommittee reviewed the resumes of a few persons with the expertise to do this work. The A2A subcommittee interviewed and hired a consultant with disabilities and a PhD in education with a background in both creating inclusive curriculum and disability advocacy to assist the Board with this work.
  • Ecumenical- The National Council of Churches has disbanded its Committee on Disabilities. However the persons who had been active in this work have continued to work together and have established the Congregational Accessibility Network. UCCDM Board Director, and UCCDM Vice-Chair, Rev. Jeanne Tyler continues to be an active leader in this work.
  • Ecumenical Work-Our World Council of Churches partner, EDAN (Ecumenical Disabilities Advocacy Network) hosted a consultation in the Netherlands on a new theological statement entitled “The Gift of Being” being developed for the World Council of Churches. [EDAN website or EDAN description] It is hoped the document will be completed in Spring 2015. An EDAN bi-annual leadership meeting was held in conjunction with the consultation. Carolyn Thompson, former UCCDM Director, and Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, UCCDM Secretary, were invited to participate in the EDAN consultation and leadership meeting. Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas has been named the new (volunteer) EDAN North America Coordinator. For more on the meeting in Elspeet see the official WCC news article on the EDA event.

The UCCDM continues to raise money to establish the Kreyer Scholarship to provide modest assistance to level the playing field for people with disabilities or mental health diagnosis preparing for authorized ministry. It is envisioned that the Kreyer Scholarship may be used to purchase assistive devices or technology, pay for academic testing to establish grounds, assist with medication costs, pay for books, assist with tuition, room and board, or other needs faced by persons with disability preparing for the ministry. You are invited and encouraged to contribute to the Kreyer Fund today! 

The UCCDM would like to partner with you in your disability ministry efforts. Please let us know what you are doing for accessibility and inclusion.

Yours In Christ,

Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, UCCDM Secretary

News on Ecumenical Work on Disability

Participants in the Ecumenical Disabilities Advocacy Network Consultation on new theological document called "Gift of Being" and leadership meeting in Elspeet, Netherlands October 2014.

Participants in the Ecumenical Disabilities Advocacy Network Consultation on new theological document called “Gift of Being” and leadership meeting in Elspeet, Netherlands October 2014.

The UCCDM works with Ecumenical partners around the issue of disabilities. Recently, UCCDM’s partner, the Ecumenical Disability Advocacy Network held a consultation on a new theological document and met for its bi-annual leadership meeting in Elspeet, Netherlands.

For more information on this ecumenical work and event please see the official report from the World Council of Churches news. At the end of the news article is link to the official communique from the consultation and leadership meeting that provides more details about the discussions at the EDAN leadership meeting.

Carolyn Thomson, former UCCDM Board, and Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, UCCDM Secretary, represented the UCCDM at both the theological consultation and the EDAN Leadership meeting. Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas has been named the new North American Coordinator for EDAN.