Founding Board of Directors
William (Bill) Gaventa is an author, speaker, trainer, and consultant primarily in the arena of faith and disability. He is the founder and Director Emeritus of the Summer Institute of Theology and Disability and the current Director of the National Collaborative on Faith and Disability. He was the Director of Community and Congregational Supports at the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey from 1995-2013. Primary areas of experience and expertise include spiritual and faith-based supports with people with disabilities, training for clergy, seminarians and community services staff, aging and end of life/grief issues in intellectual and developmental disabilities, cultural competence, and community building. He is author of Spirituality and Disability: Recovering Wholeness published by Baylor University Press in 2018
Stephen (Doc) Hunsley
Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, M.D. is the Executive Director and founder of SOAR Special Needs in Lenexa, Kansas. SOAR (Special Opportunities, Abilities, and Relationships) serves over 1000 individuals with disabilities through regular respite events and Special Needs Day Camps. Doc is currently assisting over 500 churches locally, nationally, and globally in starting a Disability Ministry. Doc also organizes the Wonderfully Made Conference held annually every October in Kansas City. Doc is a retired pediatrician while his wife, Kay, continues practicing pediatrics. They are proud parents to three beautiful children: Luke, Mark, and Sarah. The Hunsley’s middle child, Mark, is presently running the halls of heaven. During Mark’s five-year earthly stay, he gave his family the opportunity to learn from and love a child with autism. You can follow SOAR on Facebook or Connect with Doc on Twitter: @DocHunsley SOARSpecialNeeds.org.
Joanne Van Sant
Presbyterians for Disability Concerns
Rev. Dr. Joanne Van Sant is the pastor of the Friends-to-Friends Community Church, an RCA congregation of people living on the entire spectrum of developmental, intellectual, physical and neurodiversity concerns as well as with their friends and family. She also serves as a part time chaplain for Hope Christian Services, located in Wyckoff NJ, a human services agency providing support services for similar communities. Joanne is a graduate of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, ordained in the PCUSA, and also completed her D.Min. through NBTS in 2017 in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Her work, A Place at the Table, works toward the identification of the gap that prohibits inclusion in church communities for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Joanne also serves as Moderator of the PCUSA Presbyterians for Disability Concerns and in the Reformed Church of America’s Disability Advocacy Leadership program.
Beth Golik is the Operations Director for Key Ministry, an organization that provides knowledge, innovation, and experience to the worldwide church as it ministers to and with families of kids with disabilities. She hosts Key Ministry’s monthly Idea Share and the Disability Ministry Video Roundtable for church leaders across the country and is a co-host for Key Ministry: The Podcast. Beth also serves as the Director of Disability Engagement at Bay Presbyterian Church in suburban Cleveland. She has a passion for connecting people to resources through networking and relationship building.
Anabaptist Disabilities Network
Jeanne Davies serves as Executive Director of Anabaptist Disabilities Network. She is ordained in the Church of the Brethren, has a Master of Divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana and a Graduate Certificate in Disability and Ministry from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.
Faith Inclusion Network
The Rev. Tom Jones is the executive director of the Faith Inclusion Network. He is the chair of the steering committee for the Texas Faith and Disability Network. Tom Jones has taught children with special needs for 25 years in Midland, Texas. He and First Christian Church started SHARE, a respite care ministry for children with special needs in 2005. In 2006, Tom initiated a collaboration to provide Sibshops, a support program for siblings of children with special needs. In 2009, SHARE became a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit which focuses on the unique needs of family members. As a person who had epilepsy for 40 years, Tom saw first hand how his disability impacted his family and the relationships within the family. SHARE became his way of providing supports to families of children with special needs that his family did not have. SHARE’s mission is to partner with families to support and strengthen their efforts to become strong and successful families. Tom guided SHARE as it developed a variety of respite care, parent support, and sibling support programs to support each family member and strengthen the family unit. In 2011, Tom led SHARE’s expansion to Odessa, Texas. In 2015, Tom became an ordained minister by the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) which recognized SHARE as the ministry Tom was called to serve. Tom served SHARE as the executive director until 2020.
Paul Leichty served as a pastor and a music minister in Mennonite congregations in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. During that time, family members were diagnosed with conditions related to the fragile X gene. Out of family advocacy grew roles as a live-in caregiver for persons on the autism spectrum, an advocate for inclusion of persons with disabilities in congregations, and eventually a co-founder of Anabaptist Disabilities Network (2003) and Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN) (2007 & 2011). After retiring from various roles in nonprofit administration in 2020, Paul worked with many others to revive the original vision of CAN to form Disability Ministry Network in 2022.
United Church of Christ
The Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund’s mission is to partner with others to share hope and healing. She is an ordained minister in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. Sarah currently serves as Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice on the national staff of the UCC and as senior pastor of First Congregational UCC of Indianapolis, IN. She volunteers on the national boards of Pathways to Promise, Mental Health America, Bethany Fellows, and Piedmont University. In January of 2022, Sarah joined two US Department of Health and Human Services national Think Tanks, the first about faith communities and suicide, and the second Think Tank about faith communities and youth mental health. Sarah is the author of several books about mental health: Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family, and Church (2014), Blessed Union: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness and Marriage (2021), and Blessed Youth: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness with Children and Teens (2022), and a pocket-sized mental health resource book for youth: Blessed Youth Survival Guide (2022). Sarah blogs at www.sarahgriffithlund.com.
Victoria White is the program director at With Ministries, a parachurch organization coming alongside congregations to include disability and build belonging. Author of Devotions for Today, Devotions for Pilgrims, and editor of Worship As One: Varied Abilities in the Body of Christ as well as the updated Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship, she brings over twenty years of experience in education, ministry, chronic illness, and mentorship under the late Barbara J. Newman. Victoria is a writer, speaker, and consultant for communities that are faithfully building belonging with persons of all abilities.
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Disability Ministry Network is a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code in the United States. All donations are tax deductible as permitted by law.