This site focuses primarily on resources and stories around the intersection between faith and disability in North America. There is currently a unique and urgent need in South Sudan, however, to meet the needs of 15,000 people who have shown up at the five centres of CH Global, a ministry of Christian Horizons. These people have been displaced by war and conflict and have turned to CH Global, a Christian organization providing support to people with disabilities and exceptional needs in South Sudan, for emergency food and shelter. This is part of a much larger need, of course, within the political and ethnic conflict that has displaced half a million people and killed ten thousand. CH Global is one way to give to meet the needs of thousands of people that have recognized a faith-based ministry as not only an organization to meet the exceptional needs of people with disabilities, but exceptional needs of people in exceptional circumstances.

Please take a moment to find out more by reading the CH Global South Sudan Appeal and by visiting CHGlobal.org

South Sudan

roeBryan Roe is a youth pastor with Crosspoint Community Church in Wisconsin. At Key Ministry‘s 2012 Inclusion Fusion he shared the remarkable story of his time with Tourette Syndrome during his youth. On the Disability and Faith Forum we tend to focus on stories where people currently living with disabilities experience and express God’s grace and truth, but Bryan’s is a story where he underwent a physical ‘curing’ of Tourettes. This story isn’t the tired reiteration of “believe and you will be healed!” however, since the (spoilers!) “Greater Miracle” for Bryan is not that his Turrettes was taken away but that God uses him in light of not in spite of this disability.

I highly encourage you to watch the video below and to check out the post on Key Ministry’s blog, but in case you don’t have time here’s a quick synopsis of some of Bryan’s primary points in how to welcome people with apparent or ‘hidden’ disabilities into a church community:

  1. Regularly feature testimonies from adult leaders who have seen God use them in ways that he used me.  Additionally, make sure that the leaders who are giving their testimonies make themselves available to talk to (and pray with) students who are impacted by their stories.
  2. Create positions for serving in the church that can be filled by individuals with special needs.  Invest in them this way and you add value to them.  Be creative and don’t be afraid to experiment.
  3. Communicate stories about how Jesus interacted with people who were on the margins of culture.  Through this, build a case to the rest of your youth (or overall church) population about how we should be intentionally and genuinely reaching out to these kids rather than ostracizing them.

Over the next weeks, we will be highlighting some of the presentations at the 2013 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability.

This week, we are featuring “Agent or Object: A Call to be God’s Partner” by Judith Snow.

judithJudith Snow, MA (www.judithsnow.org) is a social innovator and an advocate for Inclusion. She is also a visual artist and Founding Director of Laser Eagles Art Guild, an organization making creative activity available through personal assistance to artists with diverse abilities. Ms. Snow has a background of 25 years of research design and implementation, most notably working with the Institute on Disability, UNH to provide design of a post-intervention instrument, train interviewers, and participate in analysis and report writing with the National Home of Your Own Alliance, a 23 state technical assistance program funded through the Administration for Developmental Disabilities.

To watch videos of other presentations from the 2013 Summer institute, click here.

Over the next weeks, we will be highlighting some of the presentations at the 2013 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability.

This week, we are featuring “Leviticus and the Priest with Disabilities: A Job Description” by Jeremy Schipper.

schipperJeremy Schipper, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Religion (Hebrew Bible) and an affiliated faculty member of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. His research focuses on the Former Prophets (Joshua – 2 Kings) and disability in the Hebrew Bible and other ancient Near Eastern texts. Among his writings are This Abled Body: Rethinking Disability and Biblical Studies. Co-edited with Hector Avalos and Sarah Melcher. Semeia Studies 55. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007; and the book Disability and Isaiah’s Suffering Servant.

You can visit Jeremy Schipper’s Amazon Author Page here.

You can also download Bill Gaventa’s notes on this session here: “Leviticus and the Priest with Disabilities“.

To watch videos of other presentations from the 2013 Summer institute, click here.

Over the next weeks, we will be highlighting some of the presentations at the 2013 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability. This week, we are featuring “Reflections on Dietrich Bonhoeffer” by John Swinton. John Swinton, Ph.D, holds the chair in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom. He worked Read More →

Over the next weeks, we will be highlighting some of the presentations at the 2013 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability. This week, we are featuring “Calvin on Job, Disability and Suffering” by Hans S. Reinders. Hans S. Reinders has been the Professor of Ethics at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam since 1995. He has Read More →

harvestniagaraAttending Harvest Bible Chapel in Niagara, Ontario, Brett and Breha have experienced a transformative journey which led to their adoption of William, a child with exceptional needs. Learn more about their spiritual growth as part of Harvest Niagara from 0:00 to 3:45, or jump to the story of William’s adoption at 3:46. Many of us, I’m sure, can relate to Brett’s observation (5:04) of our own tendency to place a primary emphasis on a lot of secondary things.