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
2215 Heritage Pines Ct.
Lincoln, NE 68506-2874
Raymond is an honorably retired pastor. For 24 years he pastored Heritage Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, where they have an active deaf ministry that includes an interpreted worship service. American Sign Language is his “first language” as Ray’s parents and four uncles and aunts were deaf. 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
Now retired, Sue has been given the new title of “foodie.” Collecting cookbooks and learning how to use Kamado ceramic grills, sous vide, and other innovative forms of cooking is a new adventure. Sue embraces the joy of chocolate chip cookies for her four grandchildren, Caleb, Ceilidh, Holly, and Highland. The Montgomery family is unique within the PC(USA) in that there are four ordained Rev. Montgomerys—Husband (HR), son,(Joel) and daughter-in-law (Janis) who serve a federated PC(USA) and UCC congregation in Ohio. She has 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.
1915 Wrocklage Avenue
Louisville, KY 40205
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 an elder of Springdale Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has more than 35 years of experience in the design, development and provision of supports and services centered on people with intellectual disabilities having access to valued aspects of everyday life. Two particular areas of focus have been the ongoing struggle around people with intellectual disabilities having good employment and authentic membership in faith communities. He is a retired project director of the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute where he continues part-time work centered on supported employment leadership development along with national and international private consulting related to employment and faith community membership.