Get to Know an Eastbrooker: Liz Hacker

Liz Hacker has been a part of Eastbrook since she was born 22 years ago, and has grown into a faithful community servant and advocate for fellow students with disabilities. Let’s help make our big church feel smaller as we get to know Liz.

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I am currently a college student at Concordia University of Wisconsin with a major in Marketing. Due to a brain injury at birth, I have cerebral palsy. As a result of the injury, I am unable to walk, have trouble with communication, and require a feeding tube. But despite needing help with everything, I am grateful for the abilities that God has given me.

How has your disability impacted your relationship with God and your faith journey?

My faith journey has been a journey of hope and grace through so many battles with my health and just trying to live with physical limitations. God has given me the strength to go through so many trials that I could not have gotten through myself. I do have my times of grief and sorrow for friends with disabilities. But it’s so worth the strengthening of my faith.

What role has Eastbrook played in your faith?

Eastbrook has been my church for my entire life — people have been praying for me since I was just minutes old. From day one, I have attended services with my dad, my mom, and my older sister. Eastbrook is more than my church, it’s my family. I am truly blessed to have people who work hard to include me in every way possible. Whether it’s being in choir or playing on the playground, I have always been included. Various people have become my caregivers and companions, just being with me and talking to me, which has been so beautiful (see more below).

Can you think of a specific example?

Connie [Hendrix] has been a dear friend and caregiver for me for 14 years. She has been there helping me through so many circumstances. I was in her choir, and we just created this beautiful bond that I truly cherish. I remember when we were first beginning and how I struggled with holding the music sheets. She was kind enough to get a music stand. Even though I have a hard time communicating, she is so patient and listens to me. There have been countless times of praying together about situations that I have been through. She has a gift of serving people with disabilities. We have had so many special moments that still touch me even years later.

How did you first get involved in serving at Eastbrook?

Fellowship with other believers has been so refreshing, regardless of what I’m going through at the time. So, besides attending Eastbrook, I am a volunteer for the Adult Special Needs Class and work as an Online Host. When you go online to watch the services, it might be me who you are chatting with! I enjoy it — meeting people is fun. I’m also a member of the Special Needs Resource Team (see below), which helps families who have members with disabilities feel included. I am truly blessed to have the abilities to serve God and Eastbrook because there are so many people with the same disability that can’t serve.

What is your prayer for the Eastbrook community?

I hope young people who join our community are loved and valued for who they are, not for who they have been with their disability.

We also spoke to Liz’s companion, another longtime Eastbrooker, Connie Hendrix, to learn more about our new friend. Here’s what she had to say:

Connie, how did you meet Liz?

She came to choir in 2008, when she was in 4th grade [Connie leads the Credo Choir for Grades 3-6]. It seems longer! I knew her parents before she was born, through the church. Just like any of the kids in choir, they’re with me for a number of years. With some of the kids, we have a relationship that lasts as long as they’re in choir, and sometimes once they get to high school some of them will still acknowledge you! Liz always kept in touch. Once we started going back to having everybody at church, Liz and I would sit together.

Liz calls you her “companion” and “caregiver.” How would you describe your relationship?

I’m her friend.

Because Liz is differently-abled, some folks might hesitate to approach her, in the hopes of doing so sensitively and appropriately. What would you say to those people?

Don’t be afraid to approach her, or approach someone who is differently-abled. I think it is scary in a way, because you don’t know if you’re going to say the right thing or not, but I would not be afraid to address her. She’s very loving and very caring. She engages with people. Sometimes it may take a little bit to understand, but she’s a whiz at her tablet. I hope people take the chance to get to know her. ■

ABOUT THE Special Needs Resource Team

Have you ever wondered who is working behind the scenes within Eastbrook to specifically advocate for kids of all ages with special needs? Since 2019, the Special Needs Resource Team has existed to make the gospel and our NextGen ministries (birth-grade 12) accessible to all children and students within our community. The team aims to help all people to feel loved and accepted, including those who are differently-abled, and encourages all families to understand that no matter their child’s needs, Eastbrook can be a place for them to know the love of Jesus and find community.

The team seeks to accomplish this in three ways:

  • supporting families,
  • carefully crafting accommodation plans, and
  • pairing buddies one-on-one with specific students.

To get in touch with the Special Needs Resource Team, contact Sarah Fridenmaker at

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