It might sound cliché, but I was hired to help others and they helped me just as much, perhaps even more. I learned about acceptance, trust, diversity, and what it meant to have a place to belong. Looking back, I realize God was beginning to teach me about 1 Corinthians 12 and what it means to be whole.
…we meet countless parents and family members who are battle-worn from advocating for equality and support for their children with disabilities. These parents can be fierce, because they need to be! They are forced to advocate/argue/fight against systems and societal forces that actively discriminate against their children. Too often, they face these same barriers and oppressive attitudes in churches, synagogues, and faith communities that claim to care for all God's children.
Wentworth Miller says when you’re in survival mode, there isn’t space for “we” or “community.” It becomes all about “I” and “me.” He is not relating specifically to the challenges of disability, or faith communities fostering , but he shares valuable information about the challenges that may arise if you feel singular, different, and alone; if you have to spend the majority of your days in survival mode over the long term.
Even if the statistics were less significant, accessibility should still be a priority considering that Jesus taught us to go out of our way to accommodate 1, rather than 99 sheep. Many churches do not make decisions which demonstrate that even one sheep matters.
When such assumptions concerning the connection between faith and chronic illness or disability do not pan out over the long term, they may lead some people with disabilities and their families to a fork in their spiritual journeys. Option one being the belief that “God is a real jerk.” Option two being the belief that “people with disabilities must be horrible people to deserve this much ‘extra punishment’.”
This webinar explores how the church as the body of Christ can support families who are raising children with disabilities and share their joy and suffering. Two models of support ministry will be presented, followed by a brief panel discussion and time for questions.
The long-term goal of my project EcumenAbility© is nothing more than to raise the profile of inclusion of people with disabilities to the same level as other social justice issues. Churches and congregations can thus take a leading role in improving the lives of people with disabilities in their present life and give a positive example to the general society.
Did you know that January 18th to 25th, 2018 is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity? Our friend Thomas Hentrich over at EcumenAbility has prepared a helpful resource for celebrating this week with people with disabilities.
Developed in collaboration with Christian Horizons, this certificate program will equip people to foster belonging in all aspects of ministry and outreach with people living with a disability and their families. Engaging modules address practical, theological, and relational aspects of being the Body of Christ as people of unique abilities – together.
On Saturday, December 3rd (9:30 am - 10:30 am) or Thursday, December 8th (7:00 pm-8:00 pm), Plan to Protect will be offering an AODA training.