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.
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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.
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.
Many people have to stay away from church fellowship because their allergies or chemical sensitivities prevent them from interaction with the people there. Churches can take steps to bring at least some people back into community again.
Disability Concerns has partnered with Faith and Hope Ministries to produce a free, downloadable study series on mental illness. Let’s Talk! Breaking the Silence around Mental Illness in Our Communities of Faith will open conversations about this often hidden subject.
The film "Like Stars on Earth" tells the story of an 8-year-old boy who suffers the abuse of classmates, teachers, and even his own parents for his inability to do what most children learn easily. Later, with the help of a temporary art teacher, the boy's life was changed.
How often do young people get to push their pastor or building committee chair around in a wheelchair? Not only will youth in church learn about accessibility and empathy for people with disabilities, they will provide a valuable service to the church leadership.
Parenting children requires the wisdom of Solomon, the faith of Mary, the patience of Job, the courage of Deborah, and the strength of Samson when your child moves out of the house. When God calls on parents to raise a child with disabilities, the work takes on added challenges.
Creating groups in church that are separated by age and interest makes some sense, but this approach also isolates the parts of Christ’s body from one another. Churches need to supplement their curriculum for children and adults with events that bring the church together around Scripture.
This simplified profession of faith still assumes that an individual is capable of answering these two simple questions. Individuals with severe intellectual abilities cannot comprehend the meaning of even these two simple questions. Does this mean that they are barred from making a public profession?
Making your congregation welcoming and accessible can be done because it has been done—somewhere by people just like you. Amazing Gifts tells those stories.
Through the frustration I wondered, "Can God understand me in this situation? Even more, can he understand Nicole in her severe limitation?" Can almighty God truly understand human limitations, even long-term limitations we call disabilities?
Often when a child with a disability comes into a family, whether by birth or by adoption, the parents are not ready for the emotional, spiritual, and practical changes they must make to care for their new child well.
Considering that 25 percent of us will experience a diagnosable mental illness in the course of our lifetimes, all pastors and church leaders will deal with mental illness themselves, in their families, and/or in their congregations. These five books will help in ministering with people affected by mental illnesses.
It’s easy to look at a check list and determine whether or not one has built a ramp, but how do you measure attitudes toward people with disabilities? Elim Christian Services has produced several videos about the journey of disability attitudes.
Many church volunteers get stuck when considering ministry with people who have disabilities because they don't know where to start. With the permission of the people who developed the attached plan, I share it, in slightly edited form, not because it can be adopted whole cloth, but because it may provide a starting point for your own church.
Universal design assumes BOTH that people have different needs and different ways of doing the same thing AND that these different people should have equal access to public facilities. How would Universal Design look in a church setting?
The concept of mental age perpetuates the myth that the adult with an intellectual disability is still, to some extent, not fully adult. As teachers, it is important to be mindful of this concept simply because it can help guide effective teaching activities.
People need an opportunity “to sing and to pray. . . . to offer up the pain, the loneliness, the sad and dark memories, and the anxiety and fear to the one whose birth we eagerly await, Jesus Christ. . . . to find hope and peace in this service and comfort in knowing that you are not alone.”