Disability Concerns at Inspire 2019

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Registration is now open for Inspire 2019 happening in Windsor, ON, August 1-3, 2019! Early bird registration, $80 USD, has been extended until April 15! Inspire 2019 is an event designed specifically for ministry volunteers and leaders from Christian Reformed and Reformed churches across North America. Mary Hulst, Ann Voskamp, Ed Stetzer, and Soong Chan Rah will be the featured speakers.

Over three days, people across the church will gather to worship God, build relationships across Christ’s community, and gain tools for offering ministry in your home communities. One of the plenary sessions will specifically address the significance of lament for people of all abilities, and five of the Friday and Saturday workshops will be devoted to disability topics (see below).

There are also a variety of other workshops to choose from that would benefit from having your advocacy perspective in them! We think this will be a great time to connect with each other and to form new relationships across the church.

Friday August 2, 10:00-11:00 am – Creating an Atmosphere of Belonging with Cara Milne

This workshop is designed for congregations, leaders and volunteers who support those living with disabilities in their church communities. Cara Milne, a Disability Concerns advocate for the Christian Reformed Church, will give usable and practical information so that congregations can feel confident in how to begin to create an atmosphere of belonging.

Friday August 2, 11:30 am-12:30 pm: Tips for Community Building with Cara Milne

This practical session will focus on a variety of ways we can build up connections and communities for people who are lonely or vulnerable. Cara will provide concrete examples of first steps you can take in community building. The workshop will also include real conversations around the barriers and challenges you might face, and will help the audience come away from this session with an idea that “just might work!”

Friday August 2, 2:00-3:00 pm: Universal Design for Ministry with Barbara Newman

“Universal design” in architecture is now standard in new buildings. Rather than retrofitting buildings to make them more accessible, we build them that way from the start. The same theory should apply to ministries. What does it look like when worship planning, small groups, education for children and adults, youth ministries, and governance structures are built to accommodate people with varied abilities from the start? This workshop will explore both “universal design” and “responsive design” for ministries of today and tomorrow.

Friday August 2, 3:30-4:30 pm: Better Together with Barbara Newman and Tom Van Wingerden

Workshop participants will learn how to lead small groups comprised of people with varied abilities, including people with dementia, intellectual and learning disabilities, and autism. “Together” is an inclusive adult Bible study that uses an innovative, electronic approach to provide learners with tools to help them grow in relationship with God and with one another.

Saturday, August 3, 10:00-11:00 am: Ministry in Third Spaces with Terry DeYoung and Mark Stephenson

What does it look like for our churches to fully welcome and engage people living with disabilities? How do mutuality and interdependence create space in the body of Christ where everybody belongs and everybody serves? For ten years, the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America have been living into those questions as they collaborate together in the area of Disability Concerns. In this workshop, a brief overview of that decade of work will provide a platform to explore how mutuality and interdependence are essential in creating more hospitable and welcoming churches. In addition, these complementary concepts offer a model for moving into the proposed “third space” between our two denominations. Come and learn how our churches and denominations benefit when we create places where everybody belongs and everybody serves.

We would love to see you at Inspire 2019. Please spread the word!

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