Don and Linda Boden
Connection Ministries Founders
Don and Linda Boden have been equipping Christian congregations to minister with people with intellectual disabilities for 25 years. In 1991, Don and Linda became involved with disability ministry through a relationship with a man with an intellectual disability. They started a Friendship Bible study that paired friends with disabilities with members of their church. This first class soon multiplied into three classes, and fueled their passion for congregational ministries with people with intellectual disabilities.
In 1994, they joined Lutheran Disability Ministries (LDM), later called SonRise. They expanded congregational ministries beyond Central Indiana and developed a full summer camp ministry. Today with Connection Ministries, Don and Linda have laser focused their leadership on ministries in congregations.
Connection Ministries Consultant
Jackie Schaefer’s heart was radically changed by God at 14 years old, when she attended a week of Lutheran Disability Ministries’ (LDM) HandyCamp where she was paired one-on-one with an adult with an intellectual disability. Jackie’s passion for people with disabilities continued throughout high school, and into her college years.
For the past 10 years, Jackie equipped local churches to minister with people with intellectual disabilities, the same mission embraced by Connection Ministries. She also brought her leadership to HandyCamp, later called SonRise.
Jackie joined the Connection Ministries team in January 2017, and brings her knowledge for congregational ministry along with gifts of creativity, writing, and design to develop resources for the ministry.
Dick Culter and his wife Marcy, are parents of an adult daughter with multiple disabilities. Dick has served in ministries supporting people with intellectual disabilities for 40 years. He served as Chairman of the Ministry for People with Intellectual Disabilities, LCMS-Northern Illinois District. He organized the Lutheran Parents Group which founded Handicamp in Indiana in 1990. He has served as board member and as President for Lutheran Disability Ministries from 1991 to 2010, and he was a key volunteer at SonRise Ministries from 2010 to 2015.
Don Foley and his wife Susan are involved with a Friendship ministry in their church. Don became involved with a Friendship Bible Study 25 years ago at a difficult time in his life, when he was close to giving up on organized religion. Through the simple unconditional faith of many friends with intellectual disabilities, such as Lenny, Mark, and Kathy, his heart was softened and together, they experienced the love of Christ. Don’s friends with disabilities ministered to him and it was through this congregational ministry that his faith was reborn.
Paul Kerns, is a retired career “bean-counter” who has an affection for “keeping track of things” as well as a passion for working with others to serve others. Dick Culter introduced Paul to Lutheran Disability Ministries where he became the Business Manager, attended camp, and served as volunteer coordinator with his church to bring meals to camp for many years. Paul is looking forward to helping to advance the vision/mission of Connection Ministries.
Roger Brunkow and his wife Dee have an adult daughter with an intellectual disability and have been involved in congregational ministry for people with intellectual disabilities for more than 25 years. Roger has served on the LDM Board of Directors, managed Camp SonRise construction projects and managed the Marriott hotel construction project in Muncie for the ARC, which will employ people with disabilities.
Elizabeth Oyer began her volunteer work ministering with people with disabilities as a Sunday School aid in 1983. She and her family have supported various organizations serving the needs of people with disabilities, including Special Olympics and SonRise Ministries. Elizabeth is the President and CEO of EvalSolutions Inc. in Carmel, Indiana.
Kristine Quandt became involved with Friendship Bible Study through a Friendship Saturday Respite program by donating meals, then coordinating meals and being a companion. Upon retiring from her career as an elementary school principal, Kris felt the tug at her heart to become more involved in the ministry. Kris leads Messiah’s Friendship program and formed a board with other volunteers and parents of adult students to help strengthen the class.