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.
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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.
Diekema has identified for church leaders yet another gift that people with disabilities bring to their churches. They can challenge congregations for underestimating anyone who lives with disability, and they can serve as mentors to the entire congregation...
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When Frank Eckl and his family sat down for dinner at Don Julio’s restaurant last November, they had no idea this decision would begin a series of events that would result in the arrest of a young woman and the closing of the restaurant.
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.
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.
Recently, Max Lucado published a book which included a devotion with reflections on disability and disease called "We Shall Be Like Him." Although he intends to encourage the reader, the language used and assumptions made in the devotional diminish people with disabilities.
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.
James Soliday, a former employee of 7-Eleven who has 95 percent hearing loss, managed several stores effectively for many years, but was terminated, it seems, because a new supervisor was not willing to accommodate for his hearing loss as his supervisors had in the past.
Christianity Today reports, "In North Carolina, Elevation Church leaders removed a boy with cerebral palsy from church because he was disrupting the service. Then asks six prominent worship leaders to the question: “Should churches try to minimize disruptions in services?”