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Anabaptist Disabilities Network
ADNet is a national membership organization of families, friends, and persons living with mental illness and/or other disabilities related to Anabaptist church groups.
ADNet began in late 2002 to carry on the previous national inter-Mennonite advocacy work in disabilities and mental illness.
A group of four persons (later adding a 5th person) began meeting in Goshen, Indiana, believing that a national Anabaptist center for resources and support of families and persons living with mental illness and other disabilities was important. After gathering a "Reference Council" together, the conviction grew that the organization should be driven by the needs of individuals and families and develop appropriate connections with congregations, conferences, denominational structures, church-based service providers, and local and regional support groups.
In July 2003, a National Gathering encouraged the five-person Executive Committee that began ADNet to form a national Board. This Board first met in January 2004 in Goshen, Indiana. Five original Board members affirmed this start-up work and named the original five as an Administrative Team (ADTeam).
In July 2004, the Board formed a new Executive Committee and hired Paul D. Leichty as the first Network Director. During 2005, the original Administrative Team moved on to other endeavors and their week to week assistance was replaced by that of volunteers, including members of the Board.
In March 2006, the Associate Program was launched which provides for volunteers to carry more responsibility for program functions. The program was expanded in 2008 with the creation of a one-year Student Associates Program.
In 2007, ADNet launched the Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN). In the next two years, CAN was established on its own website and additional tools and resources were added to encourage congregations to become more accessible and inclusive. CAN was spun off to become an independent organization in 2011.
Also in 2011 ADNet said goodbye to Paul Leichty, with appreciation for his vision and years of service to ADNet.
Interested in the history of disabilities advocacy among Mennonites? Former ADNet Director Paul Leichty has written a paper entitled "Mennonite Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities," originally published in the Journal of Religion, Disability, and Health and a book entitled Disability Advocacy Among Religious Organizations: Histories and Reflections, edited by Albert A. Herzog. .
How is ADNet different than church-related providers of services in the areas of disabilities and mental health?
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