For more support resources, visit crcna.org/COVID19. For a complete list of all webinars from our partner organizations, visit our Facebook Events Page. You will find additional resources on the Coronavirus on Faithward, a resource site associated with the Reformed Church in America (RCA).
**Please note: This article will be updated on a weekly basis throughout the pandemic to bring you the most up-to-date information.**
In the wake of the devastation that COVID-19 is having globally, CRC/RCA Disability Concerns offers its support and tangible assistance to people with disabilities and mental health conditions. This is a difficult time for many and we are particularly saddened that many essential services have not been maintained in our communities. We stand beside you, devastated by the news that has been emerging from other countries regarding the disturbing ethical decisions being made in hospitals. We want to encourage and thank frontline service providers that are stepping into dangerous circumstances every day. We are holding you in prayer.
Disability Concerns has curated this list of support services and resources for affected communities. Please share this page with friends and family and bookmark it on your browser. Each week we will update this page with resources as they become available. If you have a resource that should be added, please reach out to us at [email protected] or [email protected].
Note to CRC/RCA disability advocates: Please read "The Role of a Disability Advocate during COVID-19," which provides additional material for connecting with your disability community.
As we consider the future....
Dr. Thomas Hentrich, of EcumenAbility,shares his observations on the past few months as we deal with the pandemic on a global level and his hopes for the future as faith communities move forward - as he notes: "I am hopeful that this will carry over to post-COVID church life as an opportunity to create some form of belonging for people with disabilities."
Mental Health Support
- Our children need our support as they walk through this unprecedented time alongside us. This article offers some practical advice: Ways to Support Kids with Anxiety about the Coronavirus
- Grace Alliance, a Christian organization that cultivates healthy solutions for hearts and minds through simple, innovative, biblical truths, scientific research, and practical tools, has created these online tools:
- Workbook to help with life structure & routine, work down those negative fears, and stress management: “Thrive: Living Resilient and Renewed”
- Three webinars to help you stay mentally resilient:
- We thank our community partners at the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan for creating a podcast series called Navigating Your Mental Health During Quarantine. This podcast outlines signs to watch for that could be a change in mental health, how to continue human connection during social isolation, why spring is a high-risk time for suicide, and how we can empower ourselves and others to stay healthy.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed an excellent document: Tips For Social Distancing, Quarantine, And Isolation During An Infectious Disease Outbreak that discusses the reality of social distancing and isolation on our mental health and how to navigate this quarantine.
NAMI released the NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide to answer frequently asked questions regarding the intersection between Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and people affected by mental illness, their caregivers and loved ones. The guide features FAQs on a variety of topics from managing anxiety and social isolation to accessing health care and medications. Also available in Spanish - La Guía COVID-19
Managing Your Physical Health
Aging with Dignity has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by creating a practical guide for talking to your loved ones about their wishes in the light of significant health issues. Five Wishes is a great resource for walking you through these challenging but critical conversations.
For more information, please see our Network post “Advance Directives and Five Wishes: Now Is the Time to Make Your Wishes Known.”
- A constant conversation throughout this pandemic focuses on ethics. There is great controversy and debate over the ethical standards we are seeing emerging from other countries. The Culture of Life Foundation has written an excellent article on "The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Ethics of Triage."
- ARCH Disability Law Centre, on behalf of over 30 Canadian organizations that represent the rights and privileges of the disability community, has created a number of recommendations for the Canadian government in light of COVID-19. This document also included a number of additional resources for the community from an international perspective.
- This article outlines some of the challenges facing many Canadians within the disability community as they fight for access to services: Canadians with disabilities ‘particularly vulnerable’ during COVID-19 crisis: Qualtrough
- The disability community in the United States is not taking decisions lightly that are happening in Alabama and Washington.
- We appreciate the words of Chantal Huinink, an experienced motivational speaker, social justice and accessibility advocate. Her article: The Value of a Life: Triage Ethics and Disability highlights the discriminatory nature of ethical decisions we are witnessing within this pandemic and the intersection of faith in the midst it.
Webinars (upcoming and past webinars that have provided recordings)
Wednesday and Thursday, August 5ht and 6th, 11am - 2pm Eastern
Topic: Leading and Learning with Agility in a Diverse World
Past (Recorded) Webinars:
NAMIcon 2020 - a totally free virtual conference
National Alliance on Mental Illness Convention will include:
- Plenary with Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, on the challenges and opportunities in mental health research.
- The importance of comprehensive and holistic treatment approaches to address the complexities of mental illness.
- Why diversity, inclusion and cultural competence are important and how we can address issues like identity, language and demographics.
- Research updates regarding various treatments and models.
- NAMI and WETA, the flagship PBS station in Washington, D.C., along with other national partners, will launch the Well Beings campaign and host a virtual national town hall.
to view conference recordings: NAMI Virtual Conference Link (password and link to view conference can be found on this page)
Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 8 AM – 10 AM
Prof. Dr. Hans Reinders giving a presentation: Eugenics ‘Old’ and ‘New’ in which he'll note a difference and a similarity between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ eugenics. In this talk he will look at the basic philosophy of his international project looking at medical practices aiming at the termination of disability, practices like genetic screening and testing, among others. Examples will be discussed of what separates us from and what connects us with the eugenic movement in the late 19th century, in which we will also look at the current COVID 19 pandemic.
Recorded May 27, 2020 - Places of Belonging: Using Our Heads, Hearts, and Hands to Overcome Social Divisions
In an era of increasing awareness of the harm of social divisions, how can churches become places of inclusion and belonging for people on the margins, including people with intellectual and physical disabilities? Amy Julia Becker is the author of White Picket Fences: Turning toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege, and a recent companion ebook Head, Heart, Hands. Becker will discuss the opportunities faith communities have to bring a holistic understanding of healing to individuals, churches, and local communities. She will offer a framework for individuals and institutions to acknowledge harm, reach out for help, and participate in healing.
Presenter: Amy Julia Becker is an award-winning writer and speaker on faith, family, disability, and privilege. She is the author of four books, including White Picket Fences: Turning Towards Love in a World Divided by Privilege. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, Becker lives with her husband Peter and three children, Penny, William, and Marilee in western Connecticut. Moderated by Molly Cole at the Connecticut UCEDD.
Dave Eckert from Access Services in Pennsylvania joins FIN friends to discuss mental wellness during these tough pandemic times.
Recorded: Apr 26, 2020
- Session 1: Advice from Medical Providers Recording (presented April 15, 2020)
- Session 2: Advice from Family Members and Caregivers on Dealing with COVID-19 Recording (presented April 22, 2020)
- Session 3: Advice from People Who Have a Disability on Dealing with COVID-19 Recording (presented April 29, 2020)
- Session 4: Advice on Your Questions Recording (Presented April 30, 2020)
Recording (Presented April 22, 2020)
What are some of the ways that faith-based organizations and networks are responding to COVID-19 in support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families? In this webinar, a faith-based provider organization in Canada, a Jewish disability leader and author in the United States, and a Roman Catholic disability resource leader in the United Kingdom and Rome highlight what they and others have doing, and how we all might access resources on behalf of people, organizations, and ministries we know.
- Plain Language Resources available in connection to this webinar (half way down the resource page)
Strategies for Responsiveness to Citizens with Disabilities in the Time of COVID-19
Edward Willard who will share strategies for communication and support for people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Edward will discuss approaches to communication and support that have benefited people with disabilities, and he will share practices to avoid that marginalize people with disabilities during this time.
Recording (presented Friday May 1, 2020)
- The Autism Society has done a fantastic job of creating a COVID-19 Response & Resource Kit for families dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on their loved ones living with autism.
- The Alzheimer Society (Canada) has put together a concise information package called "Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tips for people with dementia, caregivers and families." It includes a long list of resources at the end with province-specific links.
Church Leadership Resources
This is a unique time for our church leaders. Our church communities can no longer gather together in buildings. Community is now happening in a much different way. Some churches have been able to shift to online platforms. Others do not have the resources to do so. Not all members have the ability to connect to services even if their church is offering this platform. As leadership of the church, community care is looking much different now. Here are some resources to support you:
Many of us are familiar with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ writings on grief. She co-authored On Grief and Grieving with David Kessler at the end of her life, and Kessler has carried on Kübler-Ross’ very important work of exploring and understanding grief. Kessler was interviewed by Harvard Business Review about the path of grief we are all walking in life of COVID-19: “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief.”
Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries - Faith, Grief and Covid-19, A Conversation
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated grief in all of our lives. We have lost jobs, financial security, health, community connections, and the opportunity to gather and celebrate significant milestones such as graduations, weddings, births, and anniversaries. In addition, we are reminded daily of the lives lost to the virus.
These losses raise larger questions for us as Christians. How do we understand and process grief as people of faith? How can we support vulnerable and grieving members of our community while practicing physical distancing? Where can we find hope and joy in this season? This short series of films tackles these questions, inviting viewers to engage in a conversation about faith, grief, and COVID-19.
Resources for People with Disabilities
- Covid-19 and You: A guide for people with disabilities.
- How to be social while physically distancing.
- Covid-19 resources for people with disabilities website. This site includes:
- Links to Plain Language Resources
- Spanish Language Resources
- Links to State and Federal Resources
- Links to communication, mobility and disability specific resources
Have your Say!
A number of organizations have come together to establish a very important survey in light of the challenges faced by the disability community in light of COVID-19. Please read their statement and see the survey that was just announced:
The world is facing enormous challenges nowadays caused by COVID-19. To support the global understanding of consequences of these challenges, Validity Foundation, the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), the International Disability Alliance (IDA), Disability Rights International (DRI), the Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) are launching a survey to highlight issues faced by persons with disabilities in the midst of COVID19. This initiative seeks to gather information on:
i) the experiences of persons with disabilities and
ii) how States are responding to states of emergency situations in relation to this specific population.
It will soon contain a dashboard to make the data collected publicly available. Surveys are being made available in fifteen languages initially. It is expected that the information collected will identify common issues facing persons with disabilities worldwide, providing valuable information to inform
policy measures at national and global levels, and will highlight promising practices which can strengthen the protection of disability rights during crises.
- How do we make sense of a global pandemic as people of faith? This is a challenging question for many of us. N. T. Wright, professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St Andrews, wrestles with this question in his article “Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It's Not Supposed To.”
- A devotional that leads us through Psalm 23, a much-needed chapter of the Bible for our current climate: In the Valley of the Shadow of COVID-19: Six Days in Psalm 23
- "Biblical and Theological Affirmations of Disability Ministry" – This resource clarifies our theological perspective as a ministry, but also gives practical ideas for support for caregivers.
Additional Denominational Support and Resources
In addition to our resources that focus specifically on our disability community, many other support services are provided through the CRCNA on a dedicated COVID-19 Resources Page.