The Access Leadership Network seeks to discover, develop, and deploy leaders working to build communities of belonging for those with and without disabilities in parishes across the ACNA.
AcLN comes alongside individuals and churches within the ACNA to help overcome obstacles with thoughtful creativity and engage those with disabilities as valued and indispensable members of their congregations.
The Advocacy Team
• supports parishes in their efforts to bring about genuine belonging in the life of the church for all affected by disability.
• seeks to walk alongside people with disabilities to empower them to become their own best advocates.
The Research Team
researches biblically sound perspectives on disability ministry and what it means to be a valued member of the Body of Christ to help guide and inform the advocacy, training, and resources of Access Leadership Network and ministry in local churches.
The Resource Team
connects people and shares resources to support the church’s ministry with and by people with disabilities to facilitate Christian community among the body of believers, growing and serving together.
The Training Team
• provides training resources for churches to build communities of belonging and make accommodations for individuals with and without disabilities.
• believes that belonging involves reciprocal relationships of growing together and mutually serving to build up the local body of believers.
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
Kathy Ayres, Director
Kathy Ayres is the Director for Access Leadership Network and heads up the Resource Team. After a 35-year career in Occupational Therapy and volunteer in ministry with hearing and deaf youth, Kathy sensed a call to ordained ministry as a vocational deacon and attends seminary part-time. Kathy has a passion to help churches create communities of belonging for growth and service together, developing leaders with and without disabilities to build God’s kingdom.
Jennifer Feldman oversees the AcLN Research Team and is an active member of Holy Spirit Anglican Church in Akron, Ohio. She is passionate about intercession, intimacy with God, worship, belonging ministry, and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Outside of AcLN, Jennifer is employed as a clinical medical librarian at a local hospital. As a self-advocate, she seeks to bring a Biblical and Spirit-Led, scientific perspective to creating a fulfilling experience in the church for all impacted by disabilities.
The Rev. Susan T. Rhodes
The Rev. Susan T. Rhodes heads up the AcLN Training Team and is an Anglican priest who serves as Pastoral Care Minister at Servants of Christ Anglican Church in Gainesville, Florida. She and her husband, David, are the parents of two grown children, Elena and David, and the grandparents of Hazel and Sage. Her sincere desire is to help others begin the process of removing barriers to create a Christian community of belonging for individuals with and without disabilities.
Beth Kirby heads up the AcLN Advocacy team. She is a founding member of Servants of Christ Anglican Church in Gainesville, Florida, and is active in ministry there and in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese with the summer camp program. She is a teacher and mother of three: a son and a daughter in college and a teenaged son with autism. When her youngest son Aidan was diagnosed, and as he grew older, church involvement became a challenge. The way the SOC church community has supported Aidan and the Kirby family inspires Beth to bring awareness to other churches of the value of acceptance and inclusion for people with disabilities and their families.
Ruth Brewbaker and her husband, Dick are the parents of five adult sons, three of whom are now married to wonderful daughters-in-law, and they have 3 grandchildren as well, with another one on the way. Their fourth son, Ben, now 24, was born w/ Spina Bifida. Having Ben in their family opened up a whole new beautiful, yet challenging world of getting to know and love families and individuals who experience life differently. For most of Ben’s life and even before, God has put on Ruth’s heart a desire to live in community alongside ones touched by disability or who are differently abled.
JOIN OUR NETWORK
To network with others who care about disability ministry within the ACNA, join the Access ACNA Slack workgroup by emailing Kathy Ayres for a link.