“We are grateful to the Abilities Ministries and to the insights that we received from Jaime Castro as to how we can more fully serve the body of Christ. The Morningstar family has welcomed some wonderful people with abilities and values that are enriching us all. We look forward to growing more in this area for the glory of God”.
Dr. Robert MacGregor
Morningstar Christian Fellowship
“Abilities Ministries has participated at Kingdom Bound for the past two years. They have done an outstanding job educating us on the importance of ministry to our friends and families with disabilities. The worship team treated us to an anointed time in the presence of the Lord. We highly recommend this ministry to everyone”.
Blessings, Donna Russo Executive Director KingdomBound Ministries
"Jaime Castro and his leadership team from Abilities Church participated in a weekend conference we hosted here at Centre Street Church, No Limbs To No Limits, as feature speakers, along with Nick Vujicic, Justin Hines and other active leaders in the disabilities community. We are very grateful for their inspiring message of community inclusion, self-advocacy and equal opportunity and their faithful witness as a church".
Special Needs Ministry
Centre Street Church
“I FINALLY got a chance to look over your Introductory Package and am very impressed! You not only wrote the book on Disability Ministry—you have actually accomplished it. My husband Larry (who is the Associate Pastor at Bartimaeus Baptist Temple) and I invested our Summer Getting Out and experimenting with what you discuss in your Presentation Package. A Bridge is definitely what’s lacking. As the former Church Relation Coordinator for Joni & Friends/Dallas-Fort Worth I am well aware of the obstacles in establishing a successful Disability Ministry outreach. Now thanks to your Presentation I am encouraged anew that despite the challenges—YES it is not only possible to build a successful Disability Ministry Outreach—it is simply what He expects of us”.
In His Accessible Grace, Linda Thacker Executive Director
Mission Accessible, Inc
"PastorRick and we loved reading about the wonderful experience you had in building your church. We really appreciate the way you have positioned your church to include people with various disabilities in ministry positions. What better way could you find than having people concentrate on others instead of dwelling on their own problems. This is very healing and comforting... Our Saddleback Prayer Team will continue to pray that your church will keep on growing as you spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God is blessing you for the good work you are doing..."
In His name,
Jim and Joan Dernocoeur
Assistants to Pastor Rick Warren
"I admire your goal to maintain balance between disabled and non-disabled people – it means that yours is truly a church that’s all about inclusion, not one where disabled people are “misfits” who can’t attend a “regular” church".
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada
"I am excited about the start and vision for growth of this much needed church opportunity. The Abilities Church is responding to the call of God. It is a sacred space that embraces and makes room for ability rather than accommodating and making special exceptions for disability. Here, disability is not a barrier, it is a pathway into the presence of God. It is about ministering with and to the whole community of God. It's not about 'your disabled and I'm not', it is all about dwelling and communing together in the Imago Dei. All have a place to belong, participate, be ministered too, and to minister - it is living Luke 4:18-21".
Dr. Neil Cudney
Director of Pastoral Ministries
"This year I was introduced to a church in Toronto called the Abilities Church. They claim to be the first real inclusive church in the world. They are impressive. Their staff and vision are excellent, and have all levels of ability. They model inclusion and invitation to all people. The Abilities Church’s goal is to have 50% of their participants having a disability. Their services are lively and show a part of the spirit of Christ that many churches miss. If you are in Toronto on a Sunday you should attend this church..."
"I read every page on your web site and am thrilled. God bless your inclusive ministry. I pray that others follow your lead, and begin opening doors of Worship to people with disabilities. I have dreamed of a church such as yours for over twenty years".
I currently serve over 800 people with disabilities, all of them in Ventura County, California, and communicate with another 900 people across the United States. It will be easy for me to spread the story of Abilities Church to over 100,000 people with disabilities and their advocates. They need to know your story. People with disabilities have been invisible in the church for too long.
One of the things about your church that impresses me is that it's not a pat on the head ministry...it recognizes people that are real and empowers them. I feel closest to God when I am with people that are disabled or terminally ill. I am a Christian, and try to follow the teachings of Christ. I don't like labels and am nondenominational. Buildings and finances don't impress me, hugs and kindness do.
The message of Christ has always been one of inclusion, but seldom interpreted that way. The Abilities church is building bridges, based on New Testament teachings that will span generations and bring many to the foot of the cross.
Your participation and efforts are the bricks of the project...your love for God the mortar.
I have seen the universal need for this church and its teaching for many years. Your mission is simple...examine the words written in red...and offer them to all. The message is as clear today as it was the day the carpenter spoke them,
"A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you".
Your web site is wonderful, every inch of it is covered with useful information. I want to memorize as much of it as possible and then with your permission...pass that information on to others".
Founder of Disabilities Ministries
Board of Directors
ARC Ventura County,
Ed Hunt's Rehab Point Project and
Oxnard/Hueneme Police Clergy Council
"Since 2010, I have the pleasure of working alongside members of The Abilities Church and their leadership team in their undertakings to worship God, facilitate social inclusion for persons with disabilities, and celebrate all levels of ability across Toronto communities. The Abilities Church leads by example in regard to its achievements and accomplishments that are realized when a group of committed people come together and - regardless of individual ability levels - are able to shine a light of hope for all to embrace as well as promote an inclusive and caring community of love and acceptance as a model of accessibility in which all members of our society can participate."
Dr. Anthony Hutchinson, CC, GA, BSc, BSW, MSW, PhD
Program Chair and Assistant Professor of Human Services, Tyndale University
Host of the Weekly Radio Listener Call-in Program "Where Your Health Matters with Dr. Tony"
Heard each Sunday evening from 8:30pm to 10pm on JOY 1250 AM radio
"It's great to see the creation of a church that really "gets it". I have been involved in overseeing a disability ministry to cognitively impaired adults called "Me & My Friends" for over 17 years out of our local church. Our denomination has recognized the importance of the ministry and we are gearing up to create a church of our own very similar to what I see you are doing. I, too, have seen how those we consider weak are actually teaching us how to be, how to live, and how to love. I really like the name Abilities Church as it really emphasizes the fact that the Lord has given each of us certain abilities to lift up and glorify Him, to serve His church, and to reach out to others in His name, regardless of impairments or disabilities. We meet for social and spiritual activities like Friendship Night (praise, singing and signing, scripture lesson, fellowship) during the week, but have not as yet really broken out and started worshipping as a separate church or community of believers. Would love to use you as a resource if possible as we enter into unknown but exciting territory for us, leaning on the Lord to show us and direct us every step of the way".
Special Needs Leader
Good Samaritan Church
Gahanna (Columbus), Ohio
I have participated in past events held by the Abilities Ministries and have always been impressed with the organization’s hard work and dedication. Their vision is an admirable one, and one that I personally share, to remove barriers of all kinds across our society.
As an elected Member of Provincial Parliament and an advocate, I have a great respect for their annual events and organization, and would like to wish all of those involved the best of success for all of their future endeavours".
Tracy MacCharles, MPP Pickering-Scarborough East
"The Abilities Ministries is built on the dedication and hard work of volunteers who recognize the unique challenges of individuals with disabilities, and have devolted themselves and their resources to overcoming the challenges that such individuals face. I am grateful for the substantial impact that the Abilities Ministries continue to have in our society. My attendance at an Abilities Church Service is still one of the most meaningful and precious memories of my decade as a Councilor thus far.
I am personally looking forward to what these groups will be able to achieve as they continueto advocate for individuals with disabilities and further weave themselves into the fabric thatsupports our community".
Councilor Shelley Carroll
Ward 33-Don Valley East
"The city is proud of individual and organizations that are committed to making a difference, I thank everyone at The Abilities Ministries for their commitment to the well-being of our communities".
Mayor John Tory
City of Toronto
“My friend and I visited for the first time yesterday (friends of ours are members of your congregation). We enjoyed every moment - the casual relaxed atmosphere that was inclusive and accepting - the spacious sanctuary and hall - the music, prayer and fellowship. The concert and musicians were wonderful; we are excited about and eager to attend a 'regular service'. It was heart warming to see a diverse group of people worshiping the Lord. We are all unique but we are equal in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. People who are visibly differently abled have an advantage: their limitations show. The rest of us are hurting, broken, wounded and 'dis-abled' on the inside, where it doesn't show. Sadly, that makes it easier for us to hide, to pretend we're OK and deny our deepest hurts and needs. We 'do church' whereas the congregation at Abilities Church ARE church - authentic before the Lord…. I can imagine Jesus up in Heaven smiling at you folks at Abilities Church, saying, if only ALL my children could love us like this. Imagine what we could do... I will invite my friends, parents of an adult autistic son, to your services. Then I'm sure they will invite others. The Lord will bless and grow your church: believe it”. Your friend, Vera
Hi Everybody, This is what I think about the Abilities Church.... Complete acceptance and the freedom to participate and have fun…The AC is a place, not just for my special needs son Michael but for me too and you if you are reading this, it is a place for you as well. Walk through the doors at 6 o'clock on Sunday and you will know you belong there too and you will see church going in a whole new way”... Judy Stonkus
“I find that the Church offers the people I support with a happy, healthy place to explore their faith. The camaraderie and openness is exactly what will help with their journey. It is a welcoming space that is finally long over due for people who have a wide spectrum of abilities. There isn’t a disability at the Church; there are only varied differences, all of whom are children of God. IT’S ABOUT TIME! The people whom I serve find the music and fellowship wonderful. Often greeting friends and enjoying their company all the while being able to praise and enjoy their community”. Robert McCarrol (Midland Group Home)
"Music, joy, celebration! The Abilities Church provides a wonderfully inviting and inclusive environment. It is a place for, "all the children" to shine...young and old, for we are all God's children." Angie Littlefield
"Thank you so much for putting together such a wonderful worship time for everyone to participate in. It's a joy to share and behold the celebration of Jesus love as expressed at the Abilities Church".
"On Sunday, March 9, 2010 I had the great pleasure of attending the Abilities Church for the first time. I cannot really find the best words to describe my experience except to repeat what has been said by others; I experienced a Life Moment. I currently work for cbm Canada (Christian Blind Mission) and I, along with my fellow colleagues are thrilled to see the Abilities Church here and to serve our greater community. Our prayers are with Pastor Jaime and his team and we look forward to an ongoing partnership to ensure that there is a place that anyone and everyone can feel like they belong. Blessings", Jusep Sim
"At the Abilities Church we can see that whether you are a person with an intellectual or physical disability or if you are someone who is seen with no disability at all you are fully welcomed. There is an openness, a feeling that you are right at home and it is clear that both people with and without disabilities are not any different. There is no separation; no segregation and no barrier installed at Abilities. The doors are not open to all people at most churches. May God continue to bless this Ministry that He has raised up to be a place where all His Children should have an equal place. Steven & Vanesa Siroki