MCEC Pastors, Chaplains, and Congregational Leaders Seminar - January 18, 2020

the church is for belongingTitle:

The Church is for Belonging: Stories about Inclusion, Disability, and Faith


ALW will be in touch with registered participants regarding rescheduling and refunding fees. Contact ALW office with any questions.


Saturday, January 18, 2020


8:15 AM - 3:30 PM


Steinmann Mennonite Church (Baden, ON)


What does belonging mean in the church? What is the relationship between spirituality, ability, and disability? In what ways could the church do better at welcoming leadership from people with disabilities? Through storytelling, discussion, and worship, we will explore how abilities and disabilities influence our images of God and our week-to-week church practices. As a diverse group of people, we will revel in the amazing gifts that God gives to each of us. We will discuss strategies for removing barriers to worship, so that all of us can participate with our physical, intellectual, or mental health challenges. Join us as we expand the conversation about inclusion, disability, and Christian spirituality.

Resource Team:

Brandon Cameron-MortonBrandon Cameron-Morton

Brandon is a 23-year-old young man who has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and ADHD. His parents – Melanie Cameron and Mark Morton – adopted him when he was ten. Brandon loves learning about music history, other cultures, movies, and computers. He lives in Oakville during the week and returns to Kitchener on weekends to stay with his parents and three siblings. Brandon is a member of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church.

MarvMarv Friesen

Marv is a graduate of Canadian Mennonite Bible College and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He has served as a pastor in rural and urban settings - in both Canada and the USA since 1988. Marv just began his pastoral assignment at Valleyview Mennonite Church in London (ON) in October 2019, and can hardly wait to get his kayak and canoe out onto the Thames River following spring thaw.

Twila LeboldTwila Lebold

After 25 years of teaching kindergarten and Grade 3 with the Waterloo Region District School Board, I am now having a lot of fun teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) with Immigration Services YMCA. I have an awesome husband, Ray Boehm and two outstanding, lacrosse-playing university boys, Jonah and Joseph. I find attending Bloomingdale Mennonite Church weekly assists my spiritual growth during the week.

Anneli Loepp ThiessenAnneli Loepp Thiessen

Anneli is an active song leader, classical musician, and music educator across Ontario. She is pursuing her Masters of Music at the University of Ottawa and completed her Bachelor of Music at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, MB. Anneli is the director for Ontario Mennonite Music Camp and is honoured to serve on the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee, which is assembling the new Voices Together hymnal.

Laura MacGregorLaura MacGregor

Laura teaches part-time at Martin Luther University College (Wilfrid Laurier University). Her research focuses on the lived experiences of parents raising children with complex disabilities, an interest that stems from her personal journey parenting a son with profound physical and intellectual disabilities. In her free time Laura is an avid hiker and a reasonably competent knitter.

Rick PauwRick Pauw

Rick works for Mennonite Central Committee Ontario, overseeing the restorative justice work in Hamilton. He attends Hamilton Mennonite Church where he often leads and coordinates music. As a person with a visual impairment, Rick is grateful for the encouragement of friends, family and church community for their support, which has allowed him to actively work, worship and explore musical creativity as a guitarist.

Jason Reimer GreigJason Reimer Greig

Jason is a Research Fellow with the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre, and a member of L'Arche Stratford. In addition to numerous articles on theology and disability, Jason published the book Reconsidering Intellectual Disability: L’Arche, Medical Ethics, and Christian Fellowship in 2015. He lives in Kitchener with his wife and two children, and attends St. John's Roman Catholic Church and Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church.

Tom ReynoldsTom Reynolds

Tom is Associate Professor of Theology at Emmanuel College, in the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto.  He is author of Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality. He is the parent of a son diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and he himself lives with depression. Tom enjoys spending time with his family, playing jazz piano, listening to music of all kinds, biking, exercise, and nature in whatever way possible.

Benjamin WeberBenjamin

Benjamin is a resident of Kitchener and attends Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church, where he was baptized in 2010 at the age of 23 and where he preaches and teaches youth faith formation.  He is a graduate of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate and holds a degree in religious studies from Wilfrid Laurier University.  Odd jobs help pay the bills and support his hobbies like watching movies and collecting books of poetry and vinyl LPs.


8:15 am Registration
9:00 am Opening worship
9:40 am Welcome and introduction to the day
9:50 am "This is my story" - Benjamin Weber and Brandon Cameron-Morton
10:10 am "This is my story" - Laura MacGregor
10:30 am Break
11:15 am "This is my story" - Jason Reimer Greig
11:35 am Praying with sight, smell, sound, and taste
11:55 am Round table discussions
12:20 pm Lunch
1:30 pm "This is my story" - Twila Lebold
1:50 pm "This is my story" - Tom Reynolds
2:10 pm Round table discussions
2:35 pm What have we learned?
3:00 pm Closing worship


Individual rate


Group rates:

First registrant


Second registrant


Third registrant


Fourth registrant


All other registrants


Questions? Contact the Anabaptist Learning Workshop

The MCEC Pastors, Chaplains, and Congregational Leaders Seminar is produced by the Anabaptist Learning Workshop.

Complete ALW wordmark