By Bob Allen
Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, managing director of resource development for American Baptist Home Mission Societies, has been named director of interfaith engagement for an outreach arm of the American Association of People with Disabilities.
In an agreement between the AAPD and the domestic mission arm of the American Baptist Churches USA, Ramsey-Lucas will work for AAPD’s Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition, 33 religious organizations working together to advocate with and on behalf of individuals with disabilities for access to employment, independent living, health care and education.
Ramsey-Lucas, a commissioned home missionary who has worked for American Baptists since 1995, assumes a reconfigured position being vacated by retiring Ginny Thornburgh, an author, activist and wife of former Pennsylvania governor and U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh.
“I am honored to follow in the footsteps of Ginny Thornburgh — a remarkable leader in the movement to expand opportunities for people with disabilities,” Ramsey-Lucas said in an American Baptist News Service release dated Nov. 3. “I look forward to engaging IDAC in bringing the prophetic voice of the faith community to the 21st-century disability agenda.”
In addition to his new part-time role, Ramsey-Lucas will continue with various ABHMS duties, which already include representing American Baptists on the IDAC steering committee. He chaired the committee that wrote “Grounded in Faith: Resources on Mental Health and Gun Violence,” published by AAPD in 2013. He also will continue as chair of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty’s board of directors.
Aidsand Wright-Riggins, ABHMS executive director, said he is “delighted” by the partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities.
“American Baptist Home Mission Societies has always been committed to breaking down barriers to persons so often relegated to the margins of our society and including them in the full life of our churches and society,” Wright-Riggins said. “Curtis Ramsey-Lucas will certainly advance this cause as he works together with both mission organizations.”
The current issue of The Christian Citizen, a magazine on social justice issues published by American Baptist Home Ministries three times a year, focuses on the church and mental illness.
“One in four U.S. Americans annually experience mental health issues ranging in severity from temporary psychological distress to serious depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” Ramsey-Lucas wrote in an editorial, “yet less than one-third of these persons receives appropriate care, often because of the stigma associated with these illnesses and their treatments.”
“American Baptist Home Mission Societies wants to help change these statistics for the better,” he wrote.