Ministry Bridges Gaps To Inclusion
March 1, 2004
KIRKLAND, WASHINGTON--Seventeen years ago, Reverend Henk Wapstra founded Bridge Ministries, an ecumenical Christian-based ministry dedicated to help more churches fully include people with disabilities.
Today, the non-profit organization has a staff of nine, a nine-member volunteer Board of Directors, and over 350 volunteers in churches across the Puget Sound area.
Bridge Ministries helps congregations understand the importance of making their churches accessible, of actively encouraging people with disabilities to participate in church activities and events, and of having a welcoming approach to worshipers with disabilities -- without diminishing their dignity.
"Working in the church, we saw that people with visible disabilities were greeted and then ignored," Donna Whitmore, Bridge's associate director and chaplain of volunteer ministries, told the Seattle Times. "The assumption is that they have problems rather than contributions. That keeps some from deciding to engage because they think it will be a one-way relationship rather than reciprocal."
"Group wants access for all in churches" (Seattle Times)