About Bridge Disability Ministries
Building Bridges since 1987
Bridge Disability Ministries was founded in June 1987 by Rev. Henk Wapstra, a Presbyterian minister. In his role as pastor, Henk became aware of the large number of people living with disabilities – about 1 in 10 people in King County.
Rev. Wapstra realized that exclusion and isolation was often far more painful to people than their disability itself. He felt called by God to found a ministry that would build bridges between people with physical and/or developmental disabilities and their communities, churches, and families.
Bridge Mission & Values
Bridge Disability Ministries honors the God-given dignity of people living with disabilities. We build relationships among people of all abilities to alleviate isolation and enrich our churches and communities.
Bridge Disability Ministries is a faith-based organization. Our services are shaped by our ecumenical Christian values. We believe that relationships are transforming; and that God reaches our hearts through others.
We do not discriminate against anyone because of race, religion, ethnicity, age, disability, creed or national origin.
At the core of Bridge Disability Ministries’ mission is the model of Jesus Christ, who touched the lives of vulnerable people, doing so with great compassion, tenderness, and without judgment. That model anchors the Board and staff of Bridge Disability Ministries, and compels us to affirm the historic Apostles’ Creed as an expression of our Christian faith.
• We believe in the character of God as revealed in Scripture as one of love, mercy and justice. God’s call for justice is out of God’s perfect, undying love for all mankind.
• We affirm God’s purposes for restoring our broken relationship with God and God’s world.
• We promote wholeness, peace, restoration and flourishing in relationships and social structures for the well-being and security of people with disabilities.
• We stand against the isolation and exploitation of people with disabilities and work towards increased access, inclusion, and belonging.
• We can embrace needs because mankind’s limitations interconnect us.
• We value the connection we have with others and the communities in which we live.
• We collaborate to build relationships with those living with disabilities, their families, church congregations, service providers, and other organizations.
• We extend Christ’s love to all living with disabilities, inviting and assisting them to be involved with church life.
• We seek partnership with individuals, churches and other organizations to encourage the spiritual growth of persons with disabilities.
• We proclaim the worth, dignity, and honor that belong to all people of God’s creation.
• We embrace differences, affirming and encouraging the gifts of people with disabilities.
• We recognize that limits can enable perseverance, strength, and creativity among all humankind.
Bridge ministers to people with disabilities
Equipment Ministry keeps people and supplies moving
Bridge’s Meyer Medical Equipment Ministry started with a commitment to helping people with disabilities get used wheelchairs and walkers. Our ministry has since expanded to address other health and care taking equipment needs.
Our Meyer Medical Equipment Center was last expanded in 2014 – and it is always crammed with used equipment and busy with volunteers and people in need. It is named in honor of former board member and equipment center manager Bob Meyer, who passed away in 2011. Read more about Bob and the center’s history in this blog tribute.
We also supply used equipment to two hospital rehabilitation centers, Valley Medical Center and Snoqualmie Valley Hospital. The on-site equipment goes to low-income patients who need it before they can be discharged.
Guardians advocate for vulnerable adults
Our Guardianship Ministry has been providing advocacy, services, and support for people with profound developmental and intellectual disabilities since 1991, when we became guardians for wards of the state who had previously resided at Fircrest.
We have since expanded to offer private-pay case management and standby guardianship services.
Bridge’s certified professional guardians (CPG) go well beyond what is normally required of a court-appointed guardian. In addition to helping people manage finances, housing, and health issues, Bridge’s CPGs ensure our friends have access to a full, rich life, where they can interact with others, make friends, and enjoy being a part of the community.
Spiritual Ministry merges faith and friends
Bridge’s Spiritual Connections is a ministry of presence and belonging. We work with churches and faith-based programs so that people with disabilities can:
- Be included in social activities
- Feel supported by their community
- Build relationships with others and with God
Area churches sponsor monthly gatherings through our Sunday Celebration program where people with disabilities, families, caregivers, and able-bodied individuals can meet, learn from each other, make friends, and have fun.
Bridge also sponsors outings, such as picnics and field days, throughout the year.
Strategic Plan: The Future of Bridge
In the next five years, we are bringing to bear almost three decades of partnership with churches and faith communities. We plan to go to an even deeper collaboration by helping faith communities more effectively reach out to our friends with disabilities in their community.
We want to help faith communities include and welcome friends with disabilities at their regular events and services. The hope is that through strategic outreach, our friends develop relationships that sustain and enrich all those involved.
touched by Bridge programs each year King County residents has a disability hosted by churches and other partners
1 in 10
touched by Bridge programs each year
King County residents has a disability
hosted by churches and other partners