The Disability Rights Movement has never gained the kind of traction with the general public or the news media as the civil rights movement. In fact, most stories about disability are either "inspirational" stories about people who have "overcome" their disability to achieve something (implying that people who simply live with their disability are not valued for who they are), or stories about someone who loses some ability, even temporarily, like the "disabled" list in sports. So I'm always thankful to read stories about Christian leaders taking steps to enhance ministry with people who have disabilities. Here are three:
This past week, the pope spoke on disability to the Italian Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Among other things, he said, “I also wish the best for your association." He encouraged them to “spread a culture of encounter, solidarity and hospitality towards persons with disabilities, not just asking for the proper social services but also encouraging their active participation in society.”
In the wake of the suicide of Rick and Kay Warren's son, this past week the Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution on "Mental Health Concerns and the Heart of God" that affirms the denomination's support for people who have mental illness, as well as families that are impacted by the loss of loved ones to suicide. Warren, a Southern Baptist himself, tweeted his appreciation that the resolution was approved, "THANK YOU Southern Baptists, for today's resolution to help churches serve the millions who struggle with mental illness."
Also making a positive step in the area of ministry with people who have disabilities, the CRC synod approved a resolution this week encouraging Christian Reformed churches to adopt a policy on disability and to appoint at least one person from their congregation to serve as a disability advocate.
What is your church doing in ministry with people who have disabilities that is newsworthy?