"Lift Up Your Hearts" has been published and has been available for purchase since May 2013. Many have embraced the new hymnal, others seem skeptical, and others just plain ignored it. So Why? What For? Who Cares?
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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.
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.
I started using the Zondervan "Church and Nonprofit Tax & Financial Guide" by Dan Busby a few years back. I just ordered the 2011 edition for 2010 tax returns and received it from Amazon. I recommend that every US church own this book as a resource for their church treasurer, administrator, and/or bookkeeper.
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.
As church leaders we have expectations of our volunteers that often go unstated because they're just "common sense" or because that is the way it has always been and everyone knows it. But sometimes our common sense isn't the same as someone else's.
Imagine a room full of wide-eyed kids, amazed by the stories of Scripture; activity, variety, and discovery choreographed seamlessly into a lesson that captures the imagination and inspires! Consider these ideas for keeping your kids engaged and focused right from the start.
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?