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Anabaptist Disabilities Network
Kathy Dickson of Bluffton, Ohio, is serving ADNet as a volunteer Field Associate. Field Associates are long-term volunteers who work in the context of their home communities and congregations on projects related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in churches. During the 2011-12 academic year, ADNet will benefit from Kathy's contributions as she perform her seminary field education assignment through ADNet.
Dickson’s appointment grows out of her desire to continue work she began as a Student Associate during the 2009-10 academic year. As a Field Associate, Kathy will continue her seminary studies at Methodist Theological School of Ohio, integrating disabilities themes into her course work and giving attention to personal and theological reflections on issues related to disabilities. She will also work on issues of accessibility and inclusion in her home congregation, First Mennonite Church of Bluffton.
"I hope that I may continue to learn from, as well as contribute to, the work of ADNet through this role as Field Associate, as I continue my seminary studies," she reflects. "God is good. I am humbled to be a part of AdNet in this way, and pray that God will walk with us in ideas, new adventures, and continued learning and collaboration with one another."
Kathy's interest in disabilities has been strongly influenced by her relationship with a beloved aunt who had Down Syndrome. Even after her aunt’s death, the relationship has regularly inspired her to find ways of connecting with individuals with disabilities and their families.
Kathy is in her eighth year as Director of Career Development at Bluffton University while also studying in the Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) program at Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio. Her background includes writing a memoir about her aunt Debbie, working in a camp for youth with multiple disabilities, volunteering for an arts studio for persons with developmental disabilities, and learning from Jean Vanier and the L’Arche communities.
Kathy brings a vision of full opportunity for persons with disabilities to her calling to serve the church. “I believe firmly that the church needs to be a place that pushes and advocates for such opportunity and must increase general awareness of various needs of individuals and families,” she writes. Kathy’s call to ministry intertwines with her commitment to people with disabilities.
Describing a vision for her future, she writes, “In the big dream, my hands would be involved with something like L’Arche or another group setting that promotes living with an attitude of mutual care, instead of caring ‘for.’ I dream of a farm like Bittersweet, where residents have responsibility in the daily care of their home and have responsibilities related to their gifts, and I believe somehow, my M.Div degree will play into that.”
Reviews by Kathy Dickson, ADNet Field Associate
Edited by Don Meyer (Woodbine House, 2009).
Frances Young (Baker Academic, 2007).
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