Joni and Friends Blog


Vice President of the United States Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence joined Keith and Kristyn Getty this month at the Kennedy Center to present the inaugural Sing! Lifetime Achievement Award to Joni Eareckson Tada.

Created out of Keith and Kristyn Getty’s work as modern hymn writers, the “Sing!” movement has become the largest worship conference in North America, and the Sing Award has been launched to celebrate individuals who have significantly influenced the world through sung worship.

Joni embodies the essence of this award by demonstrating how singing affects people, churches, and communities. Integrated into her life and work at Joni and Friends, her international organization that has accelerated Christian ministry in the disability community for the past 40 years through life-affirming programs including Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, the Christian Institute on Disability, church training, and radio programs, Joni has strengthened countless individuals and families. She has challenged the Church and advocated to the culture on every level—from government, the arts, and to people in need around the world. But even beyond her work, Joni is someone who sings infectiously to her Lord as part of everyday life.

“What an honor, what a privilege to receive the first ‘Sing Award’ at the Kennedy Center! So grateful to Keith and Kristyn Getty for inviting me on stage to give all the Gospel readings… What a joy to lift up the name of Jesus Christ in our nation’s capital and to receive the Waterford Crystal award from VP Pence! I love singing my way through suffering and encouraging others to do the same…especially during this season when we celebrate Jesus’ birth,” said Joni.

As the leadership at Getty Music talked to church leaders, Bible teachers, artists, and conference participants, there was no one who had more profoundly influenced people than Joni Eareckson Tada.

Keith and Kristyn Getty stated, “No one has inspired us more in how singing beautifully and critically binds life and faith together than Joni Eareckson Tada. From growing up in Northern Ireland loving her story and listening to her albums as a family, to then having the privilege of meeting her, working with her and calling her a friend—that has profoundly shaped so much of how we understand the gift of singing is to all of us. Her very real love for the Lord has anchored the song of her heart and voice we all enjoy and want to join. She embodies life, life in all its fullness, and is the model to the next generation of those who are leading church music.”

About Joni and Friends: For 40 years, Joni and Friends has provided the hope of the Gospel and practical resources to people impacted by disability around the globe. Life-affirming programs include Wheels for the World, distributing restored wheelchairs in developing nations; Family Retreats, respite in a camp setting for families impacted by disability; the Christian Institute on Disability, training and policy center for issues related to life and disability; and church ministry training. Joni and Friends also delivers inspirational media via radio, television, and podcasts. 

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