Message from the President, April 2013

Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. Our dear friend, Nella Uitvlugt, died suddenly Wednesday evening, March 21. She was a powerful force in this work, as well as a good friend to many. In fact, friendship was at the center of her ministry, in its simplest and most powerful form, though she was also Executive Director of Friendship Ministries. You can view and add your own testaments for Nella here. Please keep her family and co-workers at Friendship Ministries in your prayers during this difficult time.

Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. Our dear friend, Nella Uitvlugt, died suddenly Wednesday evening, March 21. She was a powerful force in this work, as well as a good friend to many. In fact, friendship was at the center of her ministry, in its simplest and most powerful form, though she was also Executive Director of Friendship Ministries. You can view and add your own testaments for Nella here. Please keep her family and co-workers at Friendship Ministries in your prayers during this difficult time.

The Spiritual Support Certification committee has been formed, though it is in the early stages of organization. David Morstad is the committee coordinator and members are: Bill Gaventa, Craig Modahl, Catherine Patterson and Sara Rieth. Thank you, all of you, for your commitment in establishing standards of practice in this important area!

Please check out the Religion and Spirituality Division Action Plan on the division website. If there are particular areas you are interested in contributing to, please let me know.

I am really happy to announce that the recipient of the Henry Nouwen Award this year is Sister Gabrielle Kowalski, OSF. Sister Gabrielle has made significant contributions throughout her life in affirming the spirituality of individuals with I/DD and their participation in congregational life. The award will be presented during the Religion and Spirituality Division Forum at the conference in Pittsburgh this year.

And speaking of Pittsburgh, have you registered yet for the annual conference in Pittsburgh PA, June 3-6, 2013? The Religion and Spirituality Division Forum will be Thursday June 6, 9 AM to 1 PM. Be sure to register when you register for the conference. The topic of conversation is “How do we assess spirituality and provide appropriate supports for individuals with I/DD?” This will be a working session discussing these questions, as well as the question of providing language and tools comfortable and effective for service providers. A committee has begun preparation for this, including possibilities for providing an extension that would be compatible with SIS and/or other support needs assessment tools. We will grab lunch at 12 and return to the conference room for closing discussion and planning forward movement. (Lunch tickets are available to purchase through registration process.)

The division dinner, always an enjoyable and tasty event, provides the opportunity for network and fellowship, as well as tasting local culinary treats. It will be Wednesday night, June 5. We will leave from the conference hotel lobby at 6:30 PM. I hope you can join us! We will be ordering off the menu and paying for dinner that night. It may be necessary to share checks among 2 to 4 people. If you are planning to attend, you can indicate it through the registration process, or email me at masteran@rcan.org. Also indicate how many people will be in your party, any children, and if you have any special seating or dietary requirements. More specific information will be made available as we get closer to the date.

To all who have religious celebrations at this time, I hope you experience joy celebrating God’s presence in our midst, in whatever way you do this.

God’s Peace,

Anne Masters

masteran@rcan.org

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