Together, we create disability. Once we recognize and admit to our participation in other people’s disability, we can begin to remove the barriers to participation that we have erected.
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?
When we envision the diverse church, in our minds' eye, we see a diversity of skin colors, foods, ethnic identities, and languages. Usually, we also see we see the young and the old, male and female. But in our vision of the diverse church, we rarely see a boy who uses a wheelchair, woman who lives with mental illness, a girl with Down Syndrome, a man who is blind, or a woman who is Deaf and uses sign language. Why?
Last week I asked why we tend to limit our idea of diversity in church to ethnic diversity. Like one reader responded to the question last week, diversity of ability falls outside of most people's thinking because most people don't want people with disabilities included in their activities.
Mark Wafer grew up with a hearing impairment, so he knows disability from the inside. When he began purchasing Tim Hortons franchises, he decided that he would hire people whom he believed would work well, whether or not they had a disability.
A prayer by Elizabeth E. Schultz to offer at a Diversity/Disability Awareness service.
This hymn was commissioned for a national conference on disabilities hosted by Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Presbyterians for Disability Concerns has posted it on their website. This hymn was included in the United Church of Canada’s hymnal supplement, More Voices.