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January 18, 2011 - 

Rev. Ron Vredeveld is the 2006 recipient of the Henri Nouwen Award from the American Association on Mental Retardation.

Vredeveld is a chaplain and the coordinator for the Association for Interfaith Ministries.

Nella Uitvlugt, executive director of Friendship Ministries (a ministry with persons who have cognitive impairments), nominated Vredeveld for his thoughtful and philosophical writing as well as his ministry with persons who have cognitive impairments.

Vredeveld authored two resource books for Friendship Ministries: Caring Relationships, which provides guidance in the area of building good relationships for people with cognitive impairments, and Expressing Faith in Jesus, which helps people with cognitive impairments prepare to express their faith and become full members of a faith community.

Vredeveld also works with approximately 120 people in three Friendship programs covering several counties.

Qualifications for the international award include having relationships through vocation or community with people with developmental disabilities and demonstrating the understanding and capacity to blend pastoral and prophetic dimensions of ministry and service to others.

Asked why the award was meaningful to him, Vredeveld said, “Henri Nouwen provided a perspective of ministry that is important to me.”

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