Here are answers to some FAQ's about hearing loops such as "How many Americans live with hearing loss?" and "Why are hearing loops needed? Don’t hearing aids enable hearing?"
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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.
I know a bare minimum of sign language so I sat, unable to understand the near silent conversations around me. I could have asked for a translator or requested that people go a little slower. But I was reluctant to do this. Why should I impose my single handicap on an entire group of people? Is this how a deaf person feels?
At the Disability Concerns Canada Spring Conference in 2010, featured speaker, Barbara Newman, shared great ideas for including people with disabilities in the full life of the church. Much of what she talked about can be found in the Church Services division section of the CLC Network website. Here are a few examples.
Here are the five titles (summaries of major requirements included) of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
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.
CIRRIE has developed a thirteen-volume monograph series, The Rehabilitation Provider's Guide to Cultures of the Foreign-Born, which provides specific information on cultural perspectives of foreign-born persons in the U.S., especially recent immigrants.
What can we do to begin to sincerely welcome everyone who seeks fellowship with God through our own congregations? Here are some simple first steps.
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.
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 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.
The CRC and the Reformed Church in America collaborated to produce this resource. Use the attached file to print and hang in your church.
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?
Last Saturday I attended a Disability Concerns conference in Kitchener, Ontario, called, “Helping People Include People.” The featured speaker, Barbara Newman, did a wonderful job helping those in attendance with great ideas for including people with disabilities in the full life of the church.
Athlete, actor, model, and bilateral below-the-knee amputee, Aimee Mullins reflects on language and her own experiences in this lecture. For those of us who believe in the power of the Word, we need to take seriously the power of our words as well.
Various barriers prevent people with disabilities from full and effective participation in society and in the church. Churches that want to break down these barriers and open ministry to and with people with disabilities need to take two paths to inclusion.