I am beginning to wonder if many of the things I consider tragic in myself and others are special gifts that, when properly noticed and submitted to, become a way for the community to better receive the richness of God.
Some in Denmark aim to make the nation a “Down syndrome-free perfect society” (actually a headline from a Danish newspaper). If you were to build a perfect society, how would you build it? What you would include in it would be telling. But perhaps more revealing would be what you might exclude from your perfect world...
“In a typical congregation of 200 adults, 50 will experience depression at some point, and at least 30 are currently taking antidepressants.” (Dan Blazer, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, in Christianity Today, March 2009). What could that mean for your church's preaching, programming, pastoral care, and congregational care?
Robin Williams was first a comedian who happened to be suffering from mental health issues. He was not trying to mask his mental illness any more than I was trying to mask my mental health illness with preaching.
What does it look like for a seminary to be welcoming and inclusive for people with disabilities? In what ways can we equip pastors, theologians, missionaries and psychologists to be more sensitive to the issues surrounding disabilities?
God our Creator, you give breath to each person you made. You treasure the gifts of each unique person. But when life becomes a burden rather than a gift, God of life, hold us.
Nearly 1 in 4 pastors have struggled with mental illness. This guide provides guidelines and suggestions for pastors and for church councils or consistories.
We hope your congregations are gearing up for Disability Awareness Sunday on October 21. Rev. Miriam Spies has offered a reflection based on the gospel lesson from Mark. We pray that your congregations are places where everybody belongs and everybody serves!