All Inclusion Is Local


Former U.S. Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill once said, "All politics is local." Similarly, all inclusion is local. If you live with a disability, what has your church done so that you know you are an important part of the church community? Or parents of a child with a disability, at what moment did you know that you AND your child were welcome in your congregation? Or church leaders, what is your church doing to welcome and enfold someone who is living with a disability? 

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I am not sure that inclusion happens all in one moment. There are moments and signposts along the way that say to you, yes, I belong.

The latest signpost that I had was just recently. It was after a very long and dry period of feeling that both me and my daughter, did not belong. My daughter has bipolar II and it is treatment resistant, which means that she spends a lot of her time coping with her extreme moods at both the high and low end of the scale. But it just looks like she is a bad kid, which she is not.

A few weeks ago, after yet another painful week of 'behaviour' my daughter ended up in the hospital, certified yet again. We decided as a family that we really needed support and so we had the pastor announce off the pulpit that my daughter had been hospitalized after her latest manic episode. I was terrified of the judgement that I was sure would follow. Then he prayed for her. I was moved to tears to hear my daughter prayed for in the normal way.... no shame, just begging for God's mercy  and healing in her life. This prayer said to me,we belong, mental illness and all. Thank you God.