Disability Concerns Consultants
The questions can be overwhelming:
- Help! I need curriculum help for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
- Can you give me information about accessibility audits/checklists/surveys?
- My presbytery meets in a church that's not accessible. Don't they get it?
- How can our church begin a ministry with persons who are deaf?
- What do I say to a child who asks, "Why me?"
Four consultants hired by the office of Social Welfare Ministries/PHEWA are available to help the Church with questions like these.
To contact the consultants directly, the best procedure is via email. The consultants work in a variety of professional capacities and are glad to be of assistance. However, they can better serve you if given some time to focus on your question and gather information prior to calling you back or responding via email. Please leave a detailed message concerning your question or concern and how best to contact you. You may also call PHEWA at (800) 728-7228 x5800.
The Rev. Raymond Meester
Consultant for Hearing
Heritage Presbyterian Church
880 South 35th Street
Lincoln, NE 68510-3499
(402) 477-3401 / TTY (402) 477-3429
Raymond is the pastor of Heritage Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, where they have an active deaf ministry that includes an interpreted worship service. Ray’s parents and four uncles and aunts were deaf, enabling him to be conversant in American Sign Language. In 2000, the Louisville Institute awarded him a 12-week sabbatical grant to study deaf ministry from a deaf cultural perspective. He has served on the board of the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, was a founding member of Presbyterians for Disability Concerns (PDC) and is a past moderator of the PDC, a network of PHEWA.
The Rev. Sue Montgomery
Consultant for Mobility/Accessibility
P.O. Box 16
Knox, PA 16232
Sue Sterling Montgomery is the pastor of the Nickleville Presbyterian Church, Emlenton, Pennsylvania. She has also served as a chaplain at Polk Center, a residential facility for persons with intellectual disabilities since 1983. Sue has served on local and national boards addressing advocacy issues for persons with disabilities. She’s no stranger to the barriers persons with mobility disabilities face. To address more than just the architectural barriers, Sue has done extensive study in the areas of theology, language, and philosophical approaches to life with a disability. Sue is an avid handcyclist who enjoys riding her 27 speed handcycle on the many rails to trails systems along the rivers of Pennsylvania. She received the Women of Faith Award from the Women’s Ministries Program Area of PC(USA) for her work with persons with disabilities.
The Rev. Rick Roderick
Consultant for Visual Disabilities
2215 Westridge Rd.
Louisville, KY 40242
Rick worked in the blindness field for 27 years. He began as a rehabilitation counselor and continued as an assistive technology specialist. He taught primarily internet and Braille note taking devices. He retired from the Kentucky Office for the Blind in 2007. Rick still does internet research in the blindness field and is active on several mailing lists dealing with these issues.
Rick produces Braille for the PC(USA), primarily for the Office of the General Assembly. He has served on the Leadership Team for PHEWA's Presbyterians for Disability Concerns (PDC) and consults with the church on accessible technology. He enjoys leading worship when requested and participated in the worship leadership of the 213th General Assembly. He lives with his wife, Carol, their daughter, Marissa, and his current Seeing Eye dog, Quattro.
Mr. Milton Tyree
Consultant for Intellectual Disabilities
P.O. Box 22638
Louisville, KY 40252
Milton Tyree is a member of Springdale Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has had numerous opportunities through the years to develop personal relationships with people who have disabilities and their family members. Milton has more than 25 years of experience in the design, development, and provision of supports and services that promote participation of people with disabilities with valued aspects of everyday life. He has worked in a number of capacities including teaching, curriculum development, consulting, and program administration. His real passion is in the area of personal advocacy. Milton currently works for the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky.
I am a student at Columbia Theological Seminary and I am working on creating with the faculty on creating a certification that current students and the Continuing Education program can earn. The certification would be looking at ministery through the lens of people with disabilities. The hope is for ministers and church leaders to create a knowledge and awareness of people with disabilities. The hopeful outcome is to create a future change in the inclusivity of the church. My question is are there already certifications that pastors can get focused on people with disabilities? thank you! your sister in Christ, Sarah VanderZee