March 21st each year marks a day to celebrate and build awareness of God’s amazing children with Down Syndrome. With 90% of all prenatal diagnoses of Down Syndrome ending in abortion, this is a day the Church can really show God’s love. As always, the desire of those who are in disability ministry should be to keep helping to pave the way for more inclusion of our brothers and sisters in Christ with Down Syndrome. Aside from inclusion within the church walls, we should also be prepared in season and out of season to be defenders of this segment of the population. Educating the ignorant is key to building acceptance.
To facilitate these duties, allow me to share some of our FAVORITE resources within the Church when it comes to Down Syndrome:
Parents Shining the Light
Amy Dunaway is one of our brilliant mentor moms who blogs about her daughter Reagan and homeschooling. The wife of a pastor in Illinois, this precious woman’s love emanates from her in such a powerful, yet gentle way that you can’t help but feel at ease exploring the world of Down Syndrome with her.
Ellen Stumbo is another incredible mother shining the light of Christ as she not only raises a daughter with Down Syndrome, but also another daughter with Cerebral Palsy. The wife of a pastor as well, Ellen’s passion is for writing and speaking, along with building church inclusion. She and her husband are raising their 3 beautiful daughters in Wisconsin.
Gillian Marchenko is also a gifted writer and speaker, well-known to MOPS groups in the Midwest. Her Illinois family of 4 girls includes 2 daughters with Down Syndrome, one who came to them biologically, and one who arrived through international adoption. Would you believe Gillian is also a pastor’s wife? (I’m beginning to see a theme here.)
Amy Julia Becker also writes and speaks, most recently with a focus on prenatal testing. Her book, A Good and Perfect Gift, published in 2011, details the early years of her Down Syndrome parenting journey, and is now followed by her most recent release What Every Woman Needs to Know About Prenatal Testing. Of course, Amy Julia is the wife of a pastor!
Rick Smith is Director of Digital Ministries at Watermark Church in Houston, Texas. He is more commonly known to the internet world as “Noah’s Dad.” Rick’s giftedness in technology and his Christian worldview, along with his animated personality and willing transparency have catapulted him to popularity with parents.
Other Great Resources
The mission of Reece’s Rainbow is to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption, to raise awareness for all of the children who are waiting in 25 countries around the world, and to raise funds as adoption grants that help adoptive families afford the high cost of adopting these beautiful children.
The mission of Friendship Ministries is to share God’s love with people who have intellectual disabilities and to enable them to become an active part of God’s family. Their ministry is international, inter-denominational, and 30 years old. They have helped equip churches from more than 75 denominations in 28 countries around the world to include people with intellectual disabilities.
The Center for Bioethics and Culture (CBC) addresses bioethical issues that most profoundly affect our humanity, especially issues that arise in the lives of the most vulnerable among us. The CBC works through a variety of media platforms—documentary film, writing, speaking, interviews in mainstream media, and new media platforms.
You are certain to find many jewels among these treasured resources. Now go and spread the Good News of God’s love for all on World Down Syndrome Day!