In Memory of Steven Reese, 1963-2020

In Memory of Steven Reese, 1963-2020

Christian Horizons is extremely saddened by the death of Steven Reese on January 21, 2020. Steven, whose birth on March 5, 1963 was the inspiration for Christian Horizons, was the son of Adrienne and (the late) Rev. Jim Reese.

Steven was supported by Christian Horizons since 2002; however, he played a paramount role within Christian Horizons his entire life, simply by being himself. He never relished the attention though, he just accepted it with grace and dignity.

Steven radiated God’s goodness in everything he did, in how he demonstrated love to others and in how his faith rose above everything. Steven knew scripture, so well that at times his mom would look to him for a Biblical reference. Steven had complete confidence in knowing that God was his Saviour, and that his dad was in Heaven with Jesus.

Steven’s community was so important to him; he truly belonged, and everywhere he went people would say hello. He was known. Steven loved his independence, taking the bus across the city; he knew what he liked, and he did what he wanted. He lived in his own apartment and was known to send staff home when he had enough support.

Steven had a fantastic memory and could tell stories about trips he had taken and people he met, always remembering everyone’s names. When those around him had newborn babies, he committed the name to memory and could recite the names of the children of all those he knew. 

Steven left us suddenly and will be greatly missed here on earth by his family, his friends and so many who had the privilege of knowing him at Christian Horizons, and greatly received by his Heavenly Father to live in perfection in His glory.

Steven’s story

A reflection by his late father, Rev. Jim Reese

March 5, 1963

4:00 a.m. "Congratulations! It's a boy!"
11 :00 a.m. “Jim, we've discovered several physical problems which point as well to [intellectual disability]. 

From exhilaration to despair in one morning! It seemed as though all my hopes and expectations for my son had been shattered.

With the doctor's words still ringing in my ears, I drove back home, stunned and dry-eyed. But when I was alone in my bedroom, the tears began to flow as my heart broke.

My mind raced back to my childhood. I could see my mother as she tearfully but tenderly revealed to my brother and me, as we knelt for bedtime prayer, that our little brother would never be regarded as “normal.” A nasty fall had caused brain damage.

Then, a brother – now, a son.

"O Lord, what are you trying to say to me?" I wept and I listened… and he spoke. He said,
"It is better to have a son who has disabilities and is headed for heaven, than to have a son who is handsome and brilliant but rebelling against God." 

So I said, "Thank you, Lord. We'll have our own challenges, but we know that these won’t be the problems we face."

Next, the Lord reminded me that one day Christ will return for his own. On that day we will each receive a new body, just like Christ’s own resurrected body.

Again I responded, "Thank you, Lord."

Then He said to me, “Jim, I've brought this experience to you not to hurt you, but to bless you and to make you a blessing."

I replied, "Dear Lord, I can't understand how that would be, but I'll try to believe it."

And then my mind focused in on a verse that my wife, Adrienne, and I had memorized years before: "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait I say on the Lord" (Psalms 27:14, KJV). My impulse to rashly react out of fear and anxiety was soothed by this divine comfort.

Finally, I made my way back to the hospital to share with Adrienne how God had met me in my need. I walked into her room to find a young woman with tears in her eyes but with a smile beaming through. And before I could relate my testimony to her she was sharing hers with me:

“I just had to have a word from the Lord!” This verse was Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” 

Wait on the Lord and rejoice in the Lord. What a blessed combination! As we've watched Steven grow up in our home, we've had much reason both to wait and to rejoice, assured that God is at work doing something wonderful.

Several months after Steven’s birth, a growing burden began to develop into a vision. “Why don’t Christians make themselves more visible in ministry with people with disabilities?" This burning question prompted a scouting of what Christian ministries were currently available. I became aware of the loving service of a few private or denominational programs and institutions. But I looked in vain for an inter-denominational evangelical community which would provide a full spectrum of ministry with people with developmental disabilities and their families.

In God's good providence, the keen interest of a number of Christian parents, professional people and key spiritual leaders was developed. An open meeting was held in 1965 and a board was formed. Now known as Christian Horizons, its vision is that people who experience disabilities belong to communities in which their God-given gifts are valued and respected.

Share your Memories of Steven

If you would like to share your memories of Steven Reese or you condolences for the families, click below to access our In Memoriam page.

Memorial Gifts

Memorial gifts to Christian Horizons would be appreciated by the family.

Funeral Information

For funeral and visitation details, click here.