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.


Members and guests of the Interfaith Disabilities Network of Oregon are invited to attend our Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 1:30PM.  The meeting will be held at Independent Living Resources, 1839 NE Couch.  To confirm attendance, kindly email

Elections to the Board of Directors will be held at the Annual Meeting.  Current members of IDNO are eligible to vote at that time for two-year terms of office.  After the election of Board Members, officers for the next two years will be elected.

Running for re-election are:


*Diana Keever,Community Activist 

*Patricia Kepler, IDNO Co- President, Independent Living Resources

Kris Moore, IDNO Co-president, FolkTime, Inc.

*Corinne Spiegel, IDNO Secretary, Jewish Family & Child Service

*Rev. Bruce Strade, IDNO Treasurer, Retired, Northwest Parish Nurses

Additional nominations to the board include:

Andy Noethe, L’Arche

Angela Paz,  Archdiocese of Portland

Angela Weaver, OHSU

Roberta Dunn, FACT