How can we make a positive difference in our churches and communities in working with people with disabilities? Compiled by Ann Ballard, this list gets you started. Have fun and get going!
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Disability is hard on marriages, but telling couples (falsely) that 80 percent of marriages end in divorce if the couple has a child with a disability could lead them to give up hope. Couples in crisis need love and support and encouragement, not statistics.
Through the apostle Paul, God paints a vision for his people in 1 Corinthians 12 as one body, together in Christ. No one excludes another. (The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!”) No one self-excludes.
Mark Wafer grew up with a hearing impairment, so he knows disability from the inside. When he began purchasing Tim Hortons franchises, he decided that he would hire people whom he believed would work well, whether or not they had a disability.
The spread effect is one of several factors that result in more people with disabilities living at the lowest end of the socio-economic spectrum of all North Americans.
Susie Angel talks about the rejection and the welcome she experienced in churches as a person with cerebral palsy. She says, "God needed me for a purpose to be the way I am, that purpose was to teach able-bodied people that it was okay to be different."
Robin Williams was first a comedian who happened to be suffering from mental health issues. He was not trying to mask his mental illness any more than I was trying to mask my mental health illness with preaching.
Over 100 ministry leaders from across North America gathered in Grand Rapids, MI, for an afternoon of discussion and learning about doing ministry with students living with autism; hearing, visual, and mobility impairments; mental health challenges; and other disabilities.
Ratifying this international treaty will not right all the wrongs committed against people with disabling conditions, but it puts a line in the sand that squares with the message of Jesus.
The chairman led a team of volunteers and journalists to rescue the boy who had been tied and chained to his bed and locked up for 10 years. The rescue operation shocked neighbors, many of whom appeared not to have known that there was such a child in the home.
As congregational members who do not have intellectual disabilities engage week in and week out with those who do, everyone learns and grows. People have to learn how to talk with others who are much different from them. That requires everyone to take risks, to reach out to one another, to have awkward conversations that will, over time, become less awkward.