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Disability Justice Series

“Accessibility is not a problem to be solved. It is a culture to be built.”
– Sheri Byrne-Haber

Shining Waters Regional Council Intercultural Diversity Commission and Canadian Shield Regional Council are offering a series of 3 webinars on disability.

Guest Speakers

Joining us to facilitate the first two sessions in our series will be The Rev. Dr. Kathleen James-Cavan.

headshot of Rev. Dr. Kathleen James Cavan

Facilitator: The Rev. Dr. Kathleen James-Cavan

Ordained in the United Church of Canada in 2015, Kathleen James-Cavan was the director of the Designated Lay Ministry program at St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon and enjoyed a 30-year career as a professor in the department of English, University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests include the literary history and theologies of disability. She contributed to the GC42 report, Theologies of Disabilities, and recently worked with others to produce a curriculum on issues of disability justice for the General Council Office. She identifies as white, disabled, and cis-gender; an uninvited guest, she is grateful to live on Treaty 6 Territory and the homeland of the Métis, also known as Saskatoon, SK.

Panel Guest Speakers

We will be joined by a panel of four guest speakers for our third installment of our series. As these speakers are confimed we will be adding them here. Please note that due to the personal nature of this discussion, we will not be recording this session.

keyboard keys with three blue keys, icon of wheelchair, icon of hearing ear, icon of blind man walking

Amber Lee Rowe – Studying to be a Spiritual Care Practitioner, Amber Lee has a long history of working and volunteering in the community. Being a NeuroAtypical person has given her a unique lens where she often empathizes with various challenges that people face. Often looking for opportunities has allowed her to support others. More recently Amber Lee has been leading sessions on Self Care as coping with forms of ableism, sexism, and racism, had left her quite burnt out. Finding meaning and purpose when dealing with challenges has gotten her through some difficult periods following a more traumatic brain injury resulting from a history of having two major concussions. Personally Amber Lee is a huge lover of Chocolate, Music, Broadway Shows, Good People and Community Building projects. Currently Amber Lee is working in Community Health Supports for the Flemingdon Health Center, Toronto, and hopes to add Spiritual Health initiatives to help others.


Headshot of Ruth Bramham

Ruth Bramham – Ruth is a member of Cummer Avenue UC in Toronto and serves as their elected lay rep to SWRC. Ruth has chronic osteoarthritis both knees and is a wheelchair user. Ruth has recently retired (after 15+ years) from York University, was she was the coordinator for campus accessibility. Ruth has been a member of Affirm United since 2001, has served on the national council as the transgender rep multiple times and was recently reelected.


black and white headshot of Rev. Kimberley Roy

Rev. Kimberly Roy – Kimberly has been in leadership in some capacity in the UCC for over 25 years. Over the course of her dedicated leadership, she has supported countless committees, commissions, task groups, boards, and comprehensive reviews. Currently, Kimberly sits on the Prairie to Pine Candidacy Board, the National Indigenous Council, the task group reviewing the moderator and general secretary’s rolls and is a corresponding member to the General Council Executive. Kimberly is Métis and resides on the historic Métis settlement of Marlboro west of Edmonton where four generations of her family have been born and lived. Kimberly has never spoken openly or publicly about her disabilities. Living with “invisible” disabilities has been one of her greatest struggles in life. Her hope is that people will reflect on how they see or don’t see disabilities in the church and beyond.


Headshot of Ruth Bramham

Torrin Maag – Torrin is a Master’s student at the Atlantic School of Theology. Their research centers on neurodivergence and theologies of justice.


Session One


Wednesday, February 21, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
What’s the “dis” about disability? Disability as a social construct.

All bodies are unique and all are God’s beloved. Using case studies and conversation, the Rev. Dr. Kathleen James-Cavan will introduce concepts of disability; medical, social, and affirmative models for understanding disability; explore the language we use; and narratives of ableism.


Session Two

Wednesday, February 28, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Ableism in the Church? The Bible, Theologies, and Disability.

There are many biblical examples of healing that have been interpreted as “cures” rather than stories of faith. The Rev. Dr. Kathleen James-Cavan will facilitate an exploration of biblical stories and apply the intersectional lens of disability justice to our church contexts and ableism in the church.

Session Three – Panel Discussion

Wednesday, March 6, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Voices that Matter: Embodying Disability Justice.

Four diverse voices (TBA) will participate in an interactive panel that explores disability and intersectionality in United Church of Canada contexts. Please note that due to the personal nature of this discussion, we will not be recording this session.


Staff Support



COMMUNITIES OF FAITH AND PASTORAL RELATIONS MINISTER; Intercultural Diversity, Anti-Racism and Right Relations Minister

Phone: 416-231-7680  |  1-800-268-3781
Extension: 6173
Email: KUyedeKai@united-church.ca

Serves in: Shining Waters Regional Council

Location: Teleworks from her home in Toronto

Role: Kim encourages and connects communities of faith in their work and supports Indigenous ministries in their relationship with the region and promotes and supports racial justice.

Contact Kim about: Anti-Racism; Conflict Resolution; Covenants; Governance; Intercultural Ministry; Right Relations; Vision and Mission



Community of Faith Support Minister

Phone: 416-231-7680 | 1-800-268-3781
Extension: 6453
Email: dmatheson@united-church.ca

Serves in: Canadian Shield Regional Council and Shining Waters Regional Council

Location: Teleworks from home

Role: Diane provides support for the region by encouraging and connecting communities of faith as they adapt and experiment in changing times.

Contact Diane about: Conflict Resolution, Community Ministries, Congregational Finance, Covenants, Grants, Property, and Transitions - amalgamations, collaboration, closures.



Community of Faith Stewardship Support

Phone: 416-231-7680 | 1-800-268-3781
Extension: 3187
Email: MDuncanson-Hales@united-church.ca

Serves in: Canadian Shield and Shining Waters Regional Councils

Location: Teleworks from home.

Role: Melody is your go-to for all aspects of community of faith stewardship, including annual giving programs, year-round stewardship, Mission & Service, planned giving, the United Church Foundation and more. Melody also brings her experience to the modules of Called to Be the Church: The Journey, the United Church stewardship program.

Contact Melody about: Called to be the Church: The Journey program; Congregational Giving; Mission & Service; Planned Legacy Giving; Stewardship Education; The United Church Foundation.

Book an Appointment: To book time with Melody for a stewardship consultation, please click this link and book with “Melody Duncanson Hales”