IDNO arrives at the Macdonald Center
IDNO arrives at the Macdonald Center
Laurie Smith of the Macdonald Center welcomes IDNO board members Evelyn Villegas, IDNO President Cindy Wilkins and Treasurer Bruce Strade.
Laurie Smith of the Macdonald Center welcomes IDNO board members Evelyn Villegas, IDNO President Cindy Wilkins and Treasurer Bruce Strade.


The Macdonald Center (soon to be renamed the Maybelle Community Center) is a 54-bed assisted living center  for the forgotten poor, which provides visitation by volunteers to offer spiritual support for all.  Included is a community room with art classes and a choir in this Old Town area for socialization.  Note that this facility is the only Medicaid-funded assisted living program in the nation.  Nearby is the separate MacWest Apartments, which serve 42 low-income residents in an old hotel that has been converted into single apartments.

Accessibility Network

I’m pleased to announce the launch of the new Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN) website at

CAN was an organizational participant in the National Council of Churches (NCC) Committee on Disabilities (COD) at the closure of COD’s work. In addition to myself, the following persons from the former COD leadership team have agreed to serve on the CAN Advisory Committee for the time being: Rosemary Graham, Mark Stephenson, Lynn Swedberg, and Jeanne Tyler. Others on the Advisory Committee include Thomas Boehm, Erik Carter, and Sarah McKenney.

The mission of the Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN) is to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the life of communities of faith. CAN’s vision is to be networking hub to connect communities of faith with the encouragement and resources they need to welcome and include persons with disabilities.

CAN provides a set of tools and resources to help persons and families to work with organizations and faith groups in order to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in faith communities.

Features and tools on the CAN website include:
Five areas of accessibility and inclusion — Mobility, Hearing (including both hard of hearing and deafness), Vision, and Support.
A Quick Checklist to make a preliminary assessment congregation’s accessibility.
A comprehensive Congregational Assessment Survey which generates a seal to display on the congregational website.
An Individual and Family Needs Questionnaire that allows attendees to share how well they feel included.
A comprehensive study process outline that looks at all areas of congregational life, celebrates areas of inclusion, and guides in setting priorities for improvement in creating a welcoming environment.
Links to a variety of faith resources and other tools to enhance inclusion.
I hope that you will visit the new CAN website. Using this link you can sign up for CAN’s newsletter and then look around to see what you can use in your various ministries. I would also like to post new information, resources, links, and dates of events that have to do with faith and accessibility. Send your submissions to me at

I plan to take CAN on the road to two events in the next two months, so stop and chat if you are attending.
Accessibility Summit, April 15-16, 2016
McLean Bible Church
8925 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22182

Summer Institute on Theology and Disability, May 23-26, 2016
Western Theological Seminary
101 E 13th St.
Holland, MI 49423

In the weeks to come, CAN will be recruiting additional networking partners in our common work for inclusion of persons with disabilities in faith communities. Let me know if you have interest.

Blessings to all of you in your work!

Paul D. Leichty

The election of the Board of Directors of Interfaith Disabilities Network of Oregon (IDNO) was held at the Annual Meeting on Oct. 7, 2015.  The current members, and their offices, are as follows:

Rhonda Eppelsheimer, OHSU / UCEDD / University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Diana Keever, Community Activist
Angela Paz, Office of People with Disabilities, Archdiocese of Portland
Daniel Salomon, Community Activist
Corinne Spiegel, Ret., Jewish Family & Child Service, IDNO Secretary
Bruce Strade, Ret., Exec. Dir., NW Parish Ministries, IDNO Treasurer
Evelyn Villegas, Independent Living Resources
Cindy Wilkins, Community Activist, IDNO President

Interested individuals are invited to attend monthly meetings of IDNO, which are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 1:30PM at Independent Living Resources, located at 1839 NE Couch St., Portland

The mission of IDNO is to activate the resources of faith communities to welcome, celebrate, and include the contributions of every person with a disability.