Building exceptional community
Janet Nolan is chief
executive officer of
Christian Horizons, a
organization serving 1,500
people with developmental
disabilities and their
families in Ontario
What is the mission that drives Christian Horizons?
Christian Horizons has a vision to
see people with exceptional needs
belong to communities in which
their God-given gifts are valued and
respected. We believe that every
person has intrinsic worth, created
in God’s image, and we encourage
everyone to help break down the
barriers that people with disabilities
face on a daily basis, here in Canada
and around the world.
How do you view Christian Horizon’s
relationship with the Canadian Christian community?
Christian Horizons’ relationship
with the Canadian Christian community is an important part of our
mission to serve the person with
exceptional needs. We can’t do it
alone. Christian Horizons sees communities of faith as a key partner –
both here in Canada and around the
world. Many of our projects are offered in partnership with communities of faith, including our Annual
Family Retreat and economic development projects in Ethiopia.
What is the single most important
thing Canadian churches can do to welcome people with disabilities into their
Churches have a unique opportunity to welcome people with excep-
tional needs into community, and
offer a place of belonging and involvement. People with disabilities
are often excluded in so many
places, including the faith community. And the single most important thing the church community can do is embrace people with
disabilities and their families as
equal, contributing members.
Your work must be rewarding, but also
challenging. How do you take care of
your own spiritual and physical re-juvenation?
For me, being able to live out my
faith and passion for serving others
through my career is indeed a great
blessing. Staying connected with
my church community, spending
PEOPLE WORLD WIDE
WI TH A DISABILI T Y
time with other Christian ministry
leaders, and dedicating time to
personal development and spiritual
maturity are critical to leadership.
It is a great privilege to represent
Jesus in so many different places.
Who are your heroes?
My heroes are the people I meet on
a daily basis who face great challenge and adversity simply living
their lives – people who overcome
great obstacles and barriers in attitude, opportunity and sometimes
just day-to-day life, yet remain
hopeful, resilient and happy.
What leadership book do you recommend most often?
Currently, the leadership book that
shows how passion and dedication
in action can be a blessing in the
lives of many is No Greatness Without Goodness: How a Father’s Love
Changed a Company and Sparked a
Movement by Randy Lewis ( Tyndale
House, 2014). This book shares the
story of Randy Lewis, a former
Walgreens VP, who took his personal experience in raising a son
with a disability and translated it
into a business plan. That plan saw
Walgreens become the most progressive and comprehensive employer for people with disabilities
across the United States.
I’ve also recently read and deeply
appreciated Timothy Keller’s book
Walking with God Through Pain and
Suffering (Dutton, 2013).
What is your top leadership advice?
Once you find your calling, make
it your laser focus. Turn your passion and dedication into action
and you can be a blessing in the
lives of many. /FT
Christian Horizons (www.christian
horizons.org) is an affiliate of the EFC
(www.theEFC.ca/Affiliates). Find more
Q&As at www.faithtoday.ca/QandA.
pHoto: VAlEriE KEElEr