2021 Virtual Conference Speakers
Keynote Speaker: Diane Dokko Kim
Diane is disability ministry consultant, speaker, and author of Unbroken Faith: Spiritual Recovery for the Special Needs Parent (Worthy Publishing, April 2018).
In 2004, her eldest son was diagnosed with autism at 18 months –and subsequent, additional diagnoses– which triggered profound personal, professional and spiritual crises: When her child was diagnosed with cognitive disabilities, she, too, found herself “spiritually disabled” by grief and disillusionment.
The comfort she received from Christ (2 Cor. 1:4) birthed a passion to encourage struggling families with the timeless relevance of Scripture, applied to the gritty realities of life. In 2009, she began partnering with Joni and Friends as a national speaker and ministry ambassador:
Diane’s two-fold passions include equipping local churches into becoming inclusive faith communities, serving as a disability ministry consultant since 2008. In 2018, she joined the leadership team of the Silicon Valley Disability Ministry Network, and co-founded the Disability Ministry Conference of Northern California. Her work has been featured in Christianity Today, Bible Gateway, LifeWay, Moody Radio, Parenting Magazine, and Jen Hatmaker’s For The Love Podcast.
Whether by a diagnosis, disillusionment, a death—or the death of a dream— everyone gets “crippled” by something. Everyone struggles to reconcile faith with disappointment, because no one is exempt from the jagged edges of a broken planet. Adversity offers unexpected opportunities for spiritual growth and transformation. Sin and brokenness may steal, kill, and destroy indiscriminately. But Jesus is an equal opportunity healer and Redeemer.
Diane and her husband, Eddie, live in Silicon Valley, CA with their two uniquely-abled sons. Connect with her at dianedokkokim.com or Facebook, where she shares on living, “Wrecked, Redeemed and Repurposed…”
Andy is the Coordinator of the Crossroads Disabilities Ministry at Crossroads Church in Corona California. He has an associates degree in science as a speech pathologist assistant. Andy developed a passion and love for the Lord and the special needs community, and decided to change career paths and devote himself full time to ministry.
Sandi Anderson and her husband of 35 years, Jeff, have 2 adult sons on the autism spectrum. Sandi has advocated tirelessly for 32 years to help their sons reach their full potential and live the life God created especially just for them. Sandi created “Arts In Motion,” an adult day program that teaches life, social, academic and business skills to her son, Joel. Together they have established a micro enterprise supporting Joel’s painting, animation and speaking schedule: Joel’s Vision Arts. As an international public speaker, Sandi is best known as an encourager of other parents with special needs children. She has served with Miracle139 International on two trips to Peru; with Joni & Friends International to Nanjing China, and with SEPAC to Beijing China. It is her greatest joy to share the hope of Jesus Christ to other families here in the USA and all over the world.
Melissa Brosch serves as the vice president of the Disability Ministry Conference. She owns a Relational Coaching and Consulting practice where she helps teens and adults with disabilities develop the skills/competencies to build meaningful relationships. She is also a professor at Saddleback College teaching adults with disabilities. Melissa was a pastor for 20 years and started the disability ministry at Calvary Church of Santa Ana. She received her Mdiv from Azusa Pacific Seminary. Melissa is passionate about helping churches create cultures of inclusion and belonging. She lives in Orange County with her 3 amazing daughters and pet hamster named Princess Buttercup.
Janice Chan, M.A., BCBA
Janice Chan, M.A., BCBA, is the deacon of special needs ministry at Reservoir Church in Escondido where she coordinates the local Buddy Break respite program. Professionally, Janice is a research assistant on several research teams exploring the use of evidence-based practices in schools and mental health clinics. She is also a lecturer and practicum supervisor in the Special Education department at San Diego State University. Ms. Chan serves on the board of directors for Banding Together, a San Diego-based music therapy nonprofit.
Bethany McKinney Fox
Rev. Dr. Bethany McKinney Fox is founding pastor of Beloved Everybody Church, an ability-inclusive church in Los Angeles where people with and without intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities, as well as neurodiverse folks, lead and participate together. She is director of spiritual formation for Cyclical LA, a church starting network. She earned her PhD in Christian Ethics at Fuller Seminary, MDiv at Columbia Theological Seminary, and BA in Philosophy with a minor in Russian Literature from UCLA. Her recent book Disability and the Way of Jesus: Holistic Healing in the Gospels and the Church (IVP Academic, 2019) examines how Jesus' healing in the Gospels, too often used in ways that wound people with disabilities, might point a way toward real healing and mutual thriving. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA). When she’s not making music with her violinist husband, they’re exploring L.A., cooking fun food, or engaging with Gozo, their dog.
Rebeca Gomez is the Director of the Special Needs Ministry at EastLake Church in San Diego. She’s been leading this ministry for almost eight years. She leads a support group for the parents of kids with special needs in her community. This group also plans events where children with special needs can become part of the community. She has also been working with the local school district to provide an opportunity and space for transitional programs participants to gain and learn everyday skills. She is currently attending Point Loma Nazarene University to obtain her Masters in Special Education. She is passionate about inclusion and providing resources for parents of kids with special needs. Her goal is to open an inclusion school in Mexico where kids with special needs can be educated, and provide resources for their parents.
Stephen Grcevich, MD
Dr. Stephen Grcevich (MD, Northeast Ohio Medical University) serves as the founder and President of Key Ministry. He is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who serves the primary vision caster and spokesperson for Key and plays an important role in Key’s efforts to develop collaborations with church leaders, professionals, and organizations both within and outside the disability ministry movement. He blogs at Church4EveryChild is a regular contributor for both Moody Radio Cleveland and the ERLC and frequently speaks at national and international ministry conferences on mental health and spiritual development. His first book, Mental Health, and the Church was published by Zondervan in 2018. In his professional life, he is an experienced clinician, teacher, and researcher, with over 35 presentations at national and international medical conferences and a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Tobias has worked at Young Life for 6 years as both a local Area Director and also as the Regional Coordinator and Developer of Capernaum Ministries in the Southeast Region. Young Life Capernaum gives young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the chance to experience fun and adventure, to develop fulfilling friendships and to challenge their limits while building self-esteem through club, camp and other exciting activities.
Mike is the Owner/Director of Hoggatt Consulting. He also serves as the President of the Disability Ministry Conference, and organization whose mission is to "Advance Quality Disability Ministry by Coming Together to Learn, Connect & Collaborate." (www.disabilityministryconference.com)
He holds Masters in both Special Education and Public Policy as well a Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy with an emphasis in Disability Policy. Mike has also received additional post-graduate training and/or certificates in Assistive/Adaptive Technology and Sexual Education Training for Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities.
Dr. Hoggatt's work on disability policy as well as the intersection of faith and disabilities has been published in various outlets including The Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability, The Community College Review, The Community College Journal of Research and Practice, PRISM Magazine, and Focus on the Family.
Dr. Hoggatt has served on the board of directors for Friendship Ministries, Inc., an international ministry whose purpose is to provide resources that support faith formation and congregational inclusion with individuals with intellectual disability. Mike regularly consults and provides training to families, disability ministries, faith-communities, and related non-profit organizations. Contact Mike at email@example.com
Amy Kendall is the Disabilities Minister for over fourteen years at Saddleback Church and oversees the ministry at all their campuses both locally and internationally. Before working at Saddleback, she worked for 10 years in the educational sector as a behavior specialist, specializing with children on the autism spectrum. Amy graduated from Pacific Christian College with her BA in Ministry and from Hope International University with her MA in Marriage, Family, Child Counseling. Amy is a recent board member of the Disabilities Ministry Conference. Amy also has a teenage son with multiple disabilities and believes that she is a better minister because she got the blessing to be his mom.
I am currently on staff at Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, as the Disabilities Coordinator for Saddleback Kids. I have the privilege of overseeing a ministry that provides classrooms and support for toddlers through teens with special needs. I had the joy of serving in the classrooms for 7 years prior to coming on staff at Saddleback. While there are days that have their challenges, I have enjoyed every minute of my 4 years on staff.
I live in Trabuco Canyon, CA with my husband Calvin and our 10-year-old daughter Bianca. Bianca has special needs, and for that reason coupled with my maternity journey, is how I discovered and fell in love with the Disabilities Ministry at Saddleback. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and going on bike rides at the local Great Park with my family.
Linda Martin, MME, MT-BC, has been working with children with special needs in a variety of capacities since 1997, including as a Board-Certified Neurologic Music Therapist in the schools and Autism Program Coordinator and Behavior Specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.
After starting the Miracle 139 special needs ministry at the Rock Church in San Diego in 2007, Linda developed a passion to see all churches become a welcoming place for all children. She authored a comprehensive, practical manual designed to equip churches entitled: “Miracle 139: Special Needs Ministry Development and Training Manual.”
Linda is also the Founder of Miracle 139 International, a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of children with special needs by bringing awareness, training and support to developing countries. Miracle 139 International continues to provide training in schools and churches around the world, impacting the lives of thousands of children with special needs.
I have been married 28 years to my husband Jeff and together we are raising 3 boys, Luke 23 with Intellectual Disabilities, Jarod 20, and Brady 16. I am a Kids Ministry Director at Torrey Pines Church. I have a passion to serve families with special needs kids and have been able to launch "Hand Over Hand" special needs ministry alongside an amazing team in September of 2019. The ministry unofficially started years ago in the community through Challenger baseball, volunteering in special needs classes, and other ways. Since the Pandemic we have had to adapt and serve families in unique ways. I was so privileged to shadow Rebeca Gomez at our Network Eastlake Church who inspired us to launch Hand over Hand. I would like to share the various ways we have been able to serve this amazing community.
Alicia McCormick, MA is a follower of Christ first, a foster mom second, and an inclusion liaison third. Her life story makes absolutely no sense except to say that she strives to live her life in unique obedient surrender to God. She acts as the Inclusion Liaison at her church Wilshire Avenue Community Church in Fullerton, where she assists the pastors and staff in creating trauma-informed, inclusive ministries and events, leads a support group for parents of kids with special needs, and partners with the county to bless foster families. Alicia also works full time at Biola University in the speech therapy department writing accreditation reports, caring for students and faculty, and teaching about disabilities and trauma-informed behavior management. She spends her free time by reading as many books as she can get her hands on and attending conferences about disability ministry, fostering, and trauma-informed care.
Dr. Jeff McNair is a professor of special education at California Baptist University and has published numerous articles and spoken around the world on disability ministry. He hosts a popular weblog called disabled Christianity which has resulted in two books entitled The Church and Disability. He just published Meowoof, juvenile fiction about what it is to be different. Jeff and his wife Kathi have been personally involved in ministry to adults with intellectual disabilities for nearly 40 years. He also works in church relations for the Joni and Friends Organization.
Hi everyone! I’ve been involved in disability ministry for about 7 years now and on staff with Young Life Capernaum for 5. I genuinely love the uniqueness of disability ministry and the pure joy it brings to the participants, the volunteers, and the overall community it impacts.
Andrea Moriarty is co-founder of the music therapy nonprofit Banding Together and author of One-Track Mind: 15 Ways to Amplify Your Child’s Special Interest and Radical Inclusion: What I Learned About Risk, Humility, and Kindness from My Son with Autism. A sought-after speaker and workshop leader, her refreshing, spiritual take on both the challenges and triumphs of parenting a differently abled child offers affectionate humor and unending hope.
Moriarty and her husband Jim are adoptive parents of grown twins: Allie is a music therapist in Massachusetts and Reid makes music and hosts his own podcast, Talk Time with Reid Moriarty. When she is not managing Reid’s adult day program, Andrea accumulates books, cooks from scratch, and whistles while she works in Solana Beach, California. www.andreamoriarty.com
Reid Moriarty is a “man with a mic” motivated to entertain to show that everyone has a unique gift. He has recorded four albums–Purple Party, Shine, Best Bros, and Slightly Country–and is a charismatic performer on keyboard and vocals. Reid is also front man for the band Jungle Poppins. He speaks regularly promoting ability awareness and hosts his own podcast, Talk Time with Reid Moriarty as well as two series on YouTube: Reid Reads and Late in the Day with Reid and Friends. His voice breaks through social barriers to inspire. Off stage, Reid is a lap swimmer who loves all kinds of beans.
Join me and Natasha Mackey as we discuss my personal journey from being a recipient of the disability ministry at Saddleback church, to now being a leader who serves weekly, offering my unique perspective and talent.
Jeannie Wronski, MA,OTR/L , Spiritual Director
Jeannie’s two passions in life are helping children with special needs and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. She holds a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California and is a graduate of Loyola Marymount’s program for Spiritual Direction.
She has worked with children with special needs and their families, as an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years. Keenly aware of the profound role our senses play in interpreting our world, she is attuned to sensory processing challenges experienced by those with special needs.
Jeannie has been a featured guest on podcasts with Joni and Friends Ministry on topics related to Occupational Therapy and Sensory Processing. She has spoken at Disability Conferences and is currently working with Every Generation Ministry, helping train Sunday School teachers in other countries to include those with special needs into church.
She is passionate about journeying with individuals, encouraging a deeper sense of God’s presence in their life, particularly through prayer practices that engage the senses. Jeannie and her husband live in Orange California, have two grown-up, out-of- the-box thinking sons, two adorable grandsons and a dog named Chip.