Global Access Conference Presented by Joni and Friends to Promote Disability Ministry

Renowned Speakers Gather to Equip, Engage and Encourage Attendees

AGOURA HILLS, Calif., June 4, 2014 – Joni and Friends International Disability Center is announcing the first-of-its-kind Global Access Conference, inviting individuals from across the U.S. and around the world to be trained and to network in the area of ministry to those with disabilities. The conference – scheduled for Feb. 17-20, 2015, in southern California – will bring together disability leaders, ministers, educators and practitioners to share experiences, forge relationships and learn how to practically and effectively promote disability ministry in the Christian community.

Conference speakers include Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends; Doug Mazza, President and Chief Operating Officer of Joni and Friends; Dr. Charles Ware, President of Crossroads Bible College; Dr. Joseph D’Souza, International President of the Dalit Freedom Network; Dr. Eddy Bazin, pastor of Delmas Christian Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Lon Solomon, senior pastor at McLean Bible Church; international missionary and speaker Bernadette Todd; and full-time painter and speaker Hyatt Moore, former president of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

“We are so excited about this world-class lineup of speakers whose life experiences have uniquely qualified them to understand the challenges facing individuals with disabilities, as well as what it takes to successfully reach out and minister to the disability community,” conference organizer and Joni and Friends vice president Steve Bundy said. “They will be sharing from their wisdom and their hearts as we all learn together how to better respond to God’s command to bring the poor, crippled, blind and lame into His house.”

Four thought-provoking tracks will be offered during the conference:

  • Leadership development and biblical counseling
  • Ministry in sensitive cultural contexts
  • Mission and disability ministry
  • Technology and disability

In order to achieve its three objects of equipping, engaging and encouraging attendees in the area of disability ministry, Global Access will explore three central themes to create a more unified understanding of the goal of global disability ministry. These are:

  • Christ: understanding His person and work in historical context, considering the implications of His ministry as it applies to evangelizing people affected by disability.
  • Church: exploring its responsibilities in this area
  • Community: understanding the Church’s role as a leader in disability advocacy and empowerment in the wider cultural and social community

“We know these are weighty topics, but there is no doubt this is an area in which we need much more discussion, study and understanding, as well as getting people on the ground doing the work of ministry,” Tada said. “I am so excited that we’ve been able to see this conference come to life around our theme – ‘Where disabilities and possibilities meet’ – and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use this.”

The conference will begin Tuesday evening, Feb. 17, and run through Friday evening, Feb. 20, at Calvary Community Church, 5495 Via Rocas, Westlake Village, Calif. Registration is $299, which includes all sessions as well as lunch, dinner, snacks and beverages during the conference and transportation from pre-arranged hotels. More information is available online at www.globalaccessconference.org.

For 35 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries, including the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; Wheels for the World, which every year gives thousands of individuals wheelchairs and the life-giving message of the Gospel; and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone.

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Note to Editors: For more information or to arrange an interview with Joni and Friends representatives, please contact Melany Ethridge or Steve Yount of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111, melany@alarryross.com or steve@alarryross.com