Susie Angel talks about the rejection and the welcome she experienced in churches as a person with cerebral palsy. She says, "God needed me for a purpose to be the way I am, that purpose was to teach able-bodied people that it was okay to be different."
Here's a one-page newsletter insert or poster to hang to give people simple, practical ideas for inclusion.
As congregational members who do not have intellectual disabilities engage week in and week out with those who do, everyone learns and grows. People have to learn how to talk with others who are much different from them. That requires everyone to take risks, to reach out to one another, to have awkward conversations that will, over time, become less awkward.
As a church becomes an active and visible place for inclusion of everybody within their midst, that church will become attractive and welcoming for any neighbor seeking a place to name and take pleasure in the “good news expressed in my church.”
For a long time this man has lived with disability. For a long time he’s had no one to help him—no wife, no family, no friends. No one.
The author of this article, Carol Levine, had been caring for her disabled husband for 17 years when she wrote this article. She polled fellow caregivers and condensed the results to these 10 items not to say to someone who provides long-term care to a loved one.
The "National Behavioral Health Barometer" (Barometer) provides data about key indicators of behavioral health problems including rates of serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, underage drinking, and the percentages of those who seek treatment for these disorders.
If it is true that people are excluded from church for social- skill reasons, what changes might be instituted within the social environment that would benefit not only persons with disabilities but the larger population as well? What “social ramp” would cause more people to have access and find social acceptance?
This article by Beccy Adams touches on a variety of practical and loving ways to connect to people dealing with mental health issues including the importance of gentle curiosity and ideas like, "Relate, but don’t over-relate: Get in touch with your own mental health short comings."
Many people loathe December and January. Holiday parties can bring pain along with joy. People renew old tensions, unbury hatchets, and pronounce judgments on others. Perhaps even worse, some people sit home alone, uninvited to gatherings with loneliness blowing cold like a winter draft.