In this issue: A blind musician, church membership for Julianne who has severe cognitive impairment, and more.
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The Christian Reformed Church made an express commitment at the 1985 meeting of the Synod to break down barriers and work for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the life of the congregation. The following is the wording of that commitment.
As many grains are gathered into one loaf, partaking of the elements binds God’s people together into one. Ironically, when church leaders ignore the unique needs of worshipers with disabilities, some are excluded from the sacrament whose very name includes the word union.
The idea of including people with disabilities in church life can sound overwhelming when someone doesn't know where to begin. Most of the following ideas are easily implemented and at minimal cost.
Our calling as disability advocates is to carry on Jesus’ work so that all people, especially people with disabilities, will be welcomed to the body of Christ and encouraged to use their gifts in ministry. The Scriptures provide us with a basic foundation for this work.
The medical, educational, and social service communities give labels to people such as “autism,” “cerebral palsy,” “dementia,” and “macular degeneration.” As advocates for people with disabilities, we must encourage people in our churches to focus on people and relationships and not be overly concerned with labels.
The US Dept. of Justice released results of a first-ever study of crimes against people with disabilities. The sad and not-surprising finding is that people with disabilities are one and one half times as likely to be victims of crime as people without disabilities.