This year we have all been on a journey together into the unknown. We watched as countries became inaccessible to one another, as the death toll climbed quickly as the pandemic spread rapidly across countries. We have found ourselves disconnected from friends, families and churches. It has been a year of significant challenge for so many of us.
Yet, we continue to move forward. What has that meant for our ministry? The role of Disability advocates has shifted this year. This year focused on intentional connection with our community. Our advocates were spending hours on the phone checking in with friends, neighbors and fellow church members, making sure that their needs were met. It meant figuring out how to get friends living in isolation connected to online church. It meant advocating for individuals living in congregate settings to make sure they were noticed, loved, and connected.
Looking back over this year, while we mark volunteer appreciation week on our calendars, it is more clear than ever why our volunteers are truly the heart of our ministry. In the midst of their own personal challenges living through a pandemic, their capacity to face outwardly and continue caring for their community was, very simply put, beautiful.
This year, volunteers in the Disability Concerns Ministry reminded us what it meant to be the church. It is not a building; we have all learned that much this year. The church is the representation of Christ on earth, caring for others, reaching out, ensuring that no one is isolated and in darkness.
To all our volunteers—regional advocates, church advocates, advisory committee/guiding coalition members, and so many more of you that support our ministry in many ways—we want to pause and say thank you. Your example of what it means to be a part of God’s family has been amazing to see this year, and makes real 1 Peter 4:10: Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.