Some people may wonder what it would mean to “celebrate” disability week, because they believe that disabilities are nothing to celebrate. However, we do have reason to celebrate the people in our congregations who live with disabilities.
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I am the mother of a special needs child with a cognitive impairment. This presents various blessings and challenges for our family. One of the things that we have wrestled with for years, is whether or not our child would ever partake in communion.
A simple, short guide won't make all the challenges go away, but it can help everyone enjoy the holidays a bit more. This guide, written by Barbara Newman, gives practical advice that can be of help to those who care about people who have a difficult time with all the changes that come with the holidays.
Though diversity brings richness to life, diversity should not be an end in itself. In fact, a very diverse groups can be unbearable. At their worst, diverse groups can break into factions that engage in gang warfare and “ethnic cleansing.” When churches consider creating diverse communities, they need to focus attention also on welcome, hospitality, and inclusion.
Please don't ask if I'm content in my singleness. I'm not there yet, and I don't know when I will be. I see myself as single by circumstance, not necessarily by choice.
It’s a national tragedy that we as a society in North America are throwing away human lives through abortion, and such a high percentage of babies with Down Syndrome.
Jeremy Lin, a point guard with the New York Knicks, has been in the news. Thanks to his fine playing, people are taking notice of him, and with that extra attention some commentators have engaged in stereotyping resulting in racial jokes and slurs about Lin's Asian heritage.
In a recent article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, the authors, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, promote the idea that regions where abortion is legal should also allow the killing of newborn children. The Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer put forth a similar argument a number of years ago.
Can you imagine the firestorm of criticism if some media outlet speculated about the state of this soldier’s marriage as a reason for his violent behavior? A firestorm would be justified. Yet no firestorm erupts when pundits speculate about his mental state.
Chris said that when his parents gave him his first voice synthesizer, he went from not speaking to talking in complete sentences in one day. I praise God for Christian leaders like Chris who can speak so articulately. He talks about disability, of course, but more importantly, he talks about what it means to be human.
Don't get me wrong. I love our dog Marley. But I do not plan to see Marley again when Christ reappears and the heavens and earth are renewed. When he dies, he'll be gone except for our memories and our pictures.
People reacted in various ways to Dick Clark's continued work after his stroke six years ago. Some laugh at him. Some appreciate him. Some think he should quit. Some are creeped out by him. Some love him. Some are inspired by him. Some swear at him. These are common responses that people with disabilities have to deal with on a day to day basis.
Tom Hoeksema and his wife, both white, decided they needed to visit Grace when their adopted African American son asked during a communion service at their previous church, “Do black people ever get to serve communion here?” The first time the Hoeksemas visited Grace, a member who had an intellectual disability walked up to them, reached out his hand in welcome, and said, “Hi, I like you!”
Mark Stephenson led several workshops on inclusion of people with disabilities in church life at a conference in Limuru, Kenya. At the third and final session of his workshop, a pastor stood up and said with great passion, "Brothers and sisters, we must do something about this. The time to act is now." Everyone then applauded!
To minister well with people who have disabilities, we need to understand the wide range of disability and the ways in which all of us can unintentionally exclude people with disabilities from the life and ministry of our churches.
Deacons are catalysts for change and it's only natural that that would include working for justice in our churches for people with disabilities. Join us for Part 3 of our 4 part series exploring the connectedness between Disability Concerns and Deacons.
Deacons who serve well work hard at connecting with members of the congregation, organizing ministry, and finding appropriate resources. This final installment on deacons and people with disabilities suggests ideas for ministry and provides some resources to implement those ideas.