Barbara Skarbowski is a United Methodist Deaconess and is currently serving as the Chairperson for the Disability Concerns Committee of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church. Barb and her husband Joe and daughter Emily live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They also have a son, Eric, a youth development counselor, who lives in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.
Barb's vocational call to disability ministry began when she was very young. At age eleven, her first job was gardening for a woman who was partially paralyzed. Later, she worked as an Outdoor Director at a camp for people who are blind, deaf and disabled. While raising her children she worked in the residential programs for ARC Monmouth, New Jersey and was also a Transition Coach for urban youth, many of whom had hidden disabilities, at Interfaith Neighbors in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Barb's son experiences "psychogenic seizures," nonepileptic seizures that mimic complex partial or tonic-clonic epileptic seizures and Barb herself experiences mobility limitations and has undergone several fusion and bone removal/graft surgeries for the degenerative arthritis in her feet and ankles.
Her calling is to help eradicate exclusion and stigmatization of people with disabilities by helping them find their rightful place within church and society. She works to affirm and resource the church in its responsibility to engage in ministry with people with disabilities. She believes God is an inerrant craftsman and that all life is beautiful and precious. She understands disability as a societal construct that limits our ability to fully love one another.
Barbara volunteers her time with Friendship Community, a non-profit Christian organization that supports adults with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. Barb is a graduate of Rutgers University (B.A. in English Literature) and will soon complete her M.A. in Disability Studies from California Baptist University.