Understanding Chronic Mercy

by Carroll Wynne June 27, 2014

On Monday, June 9, Lois Denier died. Although she had chronic illnesses, her limitations made her a stronger advocate for those in our fellowship with disabilities. This Saturday, at 11:00 AM, we will celebrate her life. Please remember her faithful husband Tom in your prayers as he walks through this time of grief.

Here is Lois, in her own words:

I became a Christian through the ministry of Nurses Christian Fellowship while in nursing school at Patterson General Hospital. I was 19 years old.

I was in the Army Nurse Corp, 1969-1971 and although it was during the Vietnam war era, I had it really rough stationed in Hawaii. While there I got involved in the Waikiki Beach Chaplaincy, helping to set up and run a Christ-centered hotline and rap center at the R&R center in Waikiki. Three weeks before being discharged from the Army, I was injured on duty and became disabled. Upon returning to the mainland, I studied and earned my degree in biology at the University of Maine…and then sat for the civil service test and ended up being trained as a contract specialist (a buyer in government procurement) for the Army serving in Alabama and Pennsylvania. There I earned a reputation as a hard-nose negotiator and specialize in breaking out sole source procurements into competitive solicitations. I received a special award for a stand-alone database I developed later included in the SAACONS (Standard Army Automation Contracting System) and chosen by the Pentagon for federal distribution country-wide.

But behind the scenes life was difficult. I had to battle with the VA because they had me under the wrong diagnosis. When I went to work at Tobyhanna Army Depot I had to fight for handicap access, filing an EEO complaint against the depot physician, charging handicap and sex discrimination (which I won on both counts). Since 1991 several other chronic illnesses and disabilities have been added to my experience with suffering. While working DESCOM HQ as a Procurement Analyst, I was assaulted by a co-worker and developed overt symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In the process of working this through I discovered that my upbringing was not only in an alcoholic home but it was also sexually abusive.

However, God was always watching over me. In 1983 while in Huntsville, I became co-founder of HERO – Handicapped Engaged in Reflecting the Omnipotent — and wrote the monthly newsletter for five years. And at my home church of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia I founded Grace Ministries for those struggling with disabilities, produced a newsletter Jars of Clay and published the children’s worship bulletin. I am proud of the elevator which was put in the church three years ago. Most recently I was part of the startup team for MNA's Special Needs Ministries.

I met my husband at the PCRT at Tenth in 1990 and we were married in December 1990 at Tenth (since my church was meeting in a grange hall in the Poconos). [Twenty-three years of marriage.]

We purchased our first and current house in January 1992. It is the longest I have lived anywhere. From my history you can see that I didn't do yearly housecleaning, I just moved.

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