As someone who works in a Christian ministry serving people with disabilities, I’m thankful that this “Emmaus road” is open to us. While sometimes God works in impressive, earth-changing ways, it is a relief to know that he can also work through our small acts of coming alongside people on their journey.
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.
When churches utilize universal design principles in planning—whether for discipleship, worship, community engagement, leadership development, or facilities—they create ministries where everyone can belong and participate.
At the Life to the Full conference we will hear from insightful speakers and have the opportunity to talk about the themes of Ability, Belonging and Community. I will be facilitating a panel there as one of the workshops. I would love to meet you, and hope that you won't miss this unique and valuable opportunity!
As an occupational therapist that works in a variety of different faith contexts, a great day for me is when I get to answer the question, “How can I start including people with disabilities better?”
What is it like to be a person with autism and to be a pastor of a church? That was a question that I was curious about until one day I found out that I had been one for fourteen years.
At eight years old I was diagnosed with autism. The educational specialists and doctors informed my parents that I would probably never read beyond a seventh grade level, attended college, or have a career. My mom was determined to prove the experts wrong by developing my unique gifts. As Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve kings. He won't serve obscure men.” For me to develop my skills and be a minister I had to overcome five main autism quirks.
There God's presence was vivid to me because each of us was worshiping in spirit and truth, according to our abilities which He created.