Close to My Heart

Close to My Heart

Recognizing a need and creating resources to meet it is a large part of Patricia Nederveld’s story. In this author spotlight, we take a closer look at this writer who has helped shape the TOGETHER curriculum to uniquely bring ‘typically-abled’ people into community with people with intellectual disability. Patricia sees opportunities for this new approach to fill the gap where traditional Bible studies have fallen short.

My commitment to Friendship goes way back to 1980 when CRC Publications hired me to plan and develop curriculum for learners with intellectual disabilities. In my long tenure with Faith Alive, I have to say that this piece of my work has been the most deeply satisfying in many ways. Though I’ve been retired for ten years, when Ruth calls and asks for help with something related to Friendship, I have a hard time saying no!

When we first began the Friendship thing, we talked to lots of families who had children and loved ones who needed to learn about Jesus’ love – but the church was doing very little (or nothing!) to meet this need with materials or programs. In fact, we also listened to folks who had simply drifted away from their churches because they felt so distanced – and so alone in their efforts to nurture the faith of their loved ones with disabilities. To say that Friendship, with its emphasis on learning and love, filled a huge need is a great understatement! Being part of that effort was a huge blessing in my life, not to mention the lives of my colleagues at Faith Alive. It was wonderful to see the ministry grow far beyond the boundaries of the CRC!

Although my editorial responsibilities shifted away from Friendship to curriculum for other audiences (especially children’s curriculum), when the first three years was published and released in the ‘80s, I continued to be involved in teacher training and new course development for the program. It’s never been far from my heart!

I’m excited about the TOGETHER series. . . it digs deeper and goes farther in involving the entire faith community in the nurture of all of its members. Drawing adults together into small groups to share their lives as they study the Word together can only be a positive and growing thing. I’m glad to still be a (small) part of the Friendship family!

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