Rev. Gary W. Wagner
PO Box 1326
Camp Verde, AZ 86322-1326
Work Phone: 520-567-5231
A profound sense of calling and a passion that comes from personal experience drew the Rev. Gary Wagner to the work of Rainbow Acres in Arizona, where he serves as President. "Because I am the father of two children with disabilities, I have empathy for the individuals who live here and for their families," Wagner explains. "I draw on my personal experiences, as well as the professional gifts I have developed over my career, to help me fulfill my responsibilities."
Rainbow Acres is a residential community for ranchers-men and women with developmental disabilities. Through Rainbow's vocational "ladder" program, individuals learn work skills and can be employed in a sheltered workshop setting or with local companies. Social skills are reinforced throughout the campus and ranchers participate in a variety of social and physical activities. Prayer circles, Bible studies, and worship services offer a chance to be involved in the life of the church.
Wagner explains that those who live at Rainbow Acres have the same basic needs we all share: self-acceptance, the acceptance and affirmation of others, and meaningful work and personal relationships. "What makes Rainbow Acres distinct is that we try to help people tap into resources of faith to find a healthy self-acceptance," says Wagner. "While some disabilities can never be completely overcome, they can be accepted and transcended."
Seeing ranchers mature and develop meaningful relationships with friends is the most rewarding part of the work, according to Wagner. "A deficiency in one area doesn't make a deficient human being," he says. "I see so many people here who have a tremendous concern for the well being of others and a tremendous appreciation of friendship. I find hope in their personal victories."
As he looks to the future, Wagner also has reason for hope. "In 2001 we will begin replacing mobile home units with new permanent housing," he says. "And Rainbow Acres is growing-there will be openings for new ranchers in the next few years."
Gary Wagner is the father of five grown sons and has three grandchildren. His hobbies include traveling, genealogy and antiques.
Postgraduate studies, Fullerton Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA; M.Div., Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Rochester, NY; B.A., in Religious Education and Sociology, University of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, SD
Director of Development and Marketing, Omniplex Science Museum, Oklahoma City, OK; vice president, Phillips University, Enid, OK; director of Development, Alderson-Broaddus College, Philippi, WV; director of Development, American Baptist Assembly, Green Lake, WI
- Joined Rainbow Acres as President in 1996.
- Ordained: 1972
- Birthday: September 5
HOME MISSION HIGHLIGHTS:
Rainbow Acres is a mission partner with American Baptist Home Mission Societies and a member of the American Baptists Homes and Hospitals Association.
The mission of Rainbow Acres is to provide abundant life for men and women with mental retardation/developmental disabilities.
Rainbow Acres is currently home to 76 men and women from ages 18 - 80.
Over a 25 year history, Rainbow Acres has served more than 350 persons from over 17 states.
To learn more about Rainbow Acres or to make a tax deductible contribution in support of the ministry, please email Gary Wagner at Info@rainbowacres.com or call him at (520) 567-5231.
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