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INCLUDING PEOPLE WITH AUTISM IN THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY LIFE 

Autism is one amongst common disabilities. 

As we are working towards an inclusive Church and Society, I think it’s important that we need to learn and understand the different types of disabilities. Here, I want to share about Autism. Medicine explains Autism in a very deep way, but I’ve found an easy way of how we can learn and relate to autism, than how I would explain it with a medical reference as a Medical Rehab Tech in regards to the subject of Inclusive Church and Society. 

From the book “Making Church Accessible to all (Including people with disability in church life), page 76-78” by Tony Phelps, Ann Memmott, an adult on the autism spectrum who advises churches on autism inclusion, shared her experience. I’ve decided to share her practical experience in my blog because I find it very helpful and significant as it is coming from someone who is in the autism spectrum.

As you read, imagine Ann speaking to you directly. When she says “we” or “us,” she is referring to people with autism, a group of which she is part. 

Here is her experience;

“One in 100 people is on the autism spectrum, which includes Asperger syndrome. ‘Classic autism’ is a combination of autism, and a learning disability, whereas Asperger syndrome is now believed to be autism without a learning disability. Everything in this chapter is a generalisation as everyone will be somewhat different. 

Autism is a brain design difference. As far as we know, it happens before birth, and no one knows why. Our brains are wired to be excellent at specialised tasks but are fairly hopeless at understanding social relationships. Often a very mixed blessing. We’re on average ten times more accurate than other people but bits of the brain that ‘decode’ people’s behaviour, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact and tone of voice are not wired up very well. 
We can struggle to understand non verbal meaning, so we often need really clear explanations to tell us how someone is feeling. We can also struggle to use body language and tone of voice to tell others how we’re feeling. We cannot always understand complicated language or long sentences or metaphors. We are, however, hugely loyal, honest people who make splendid friends once you win our trust. We are often great seekers of social justice, able to work painstakingly towards a better future for everyone. Some of us are church leaders and church advisers. Many of us have a huge range of good speech, but no clue of how to use it to pursued others to like us and support our work. That luck of social understanding and our social ‘clumsiness’ is the problem. Being able to speak is one thing. Knowing what to say and what not to say is another, that’s the bit. We improve with time, practice, and good friends guiding us in the rules. We can be very direct in what we say, but it’s not meant to be rude or sound aggressive. 

We may stand too close to people because we can’t see them properly and can’t work out how far we are. It’s not meant in a threatening way. Someone on the autism spectrum may seek a reassuring hug or hand holding. This should not seem as either intimacy or threat. It is often because our brains don’t produce a chemical called ‘Oxytocin,’ which helps people to use social skills and keep calm. The comfortable pleasure of, say, a blanket wrapped around us, or a safe agreed touch, can boost the chemical, but if people touch us unexpectedly, it can really hurt, because of our heightened skin sensitivity. Always ensure that you ask for permission and are sensible, open and safe with the use of touch.

People on the autism spectrum have a huge need to know what’s going to happen that day and in what order. Eight out of ten of us also have sensory processing difficulties. If someone is blind, it means they can not see enough. If they are deaf, it means they cannot hear enough. With autism, we may see, hear, feel, smell, and taste too much, all the time. It’s an avalanche of information from our senses, and our brains aren’t good at working out what’s important information and what’s not. 

Eight out of ten of us think visually rather than in words, which means that we try to visualise what a word looks like or what someone would be doing. This is why metaphors and expectations can be such a struggle for us. 

We may use repetitive body movements or sounds (stimming), such as rocking back and forth or hand-flapping or repeating a particular sound. It may seem odd, but it helps us to know where our bodies are, and helps to cope. If it’s not disruptive, it’s not a problem. 

We often prefer to make friends with one or two people, because big groups are such a hard work for our brains. If those friends aren’t there, we can find being in a bigger group quite stressful and may need extra reassurance. 

We autism people are all individuals, having our own interests, loves and dislikes, as other people do, but we also, do have those few differences. 

In summary, we are not good at automatically coping with social situations, copping with random events or copping in busy, bright, noisy places for long. Sooner or later our brain wiring overheats, which means we need time out to cool it down again. If that happens, we need a quite space away from people, no fuss or social conversation, and the chance to just ‘be’ for a while. The offer of a blanket or coat to wrap round us helps us if we are in a panic.”

We can learn through Ann’s personal experience as a person with autism, she practically shared how we can include and approach persons with autism, if taken into consideration this would result into an inclusive and accessible church and community. This is also a great opportunity to learn about the expectations of persons with autism and have a good understanding of autism. 

Reading and learning from Ann has showed me that people with autism are nice people and have something to offer just like any other person if given a chance to give and respond to the church or the society. We are all unique in a certain way, we were made to depend on each other and we are here to compliment one another for we all have something to offer to one another. All we need to learn is, to adjust to one another so as to grow and enjoy our relationships that God has given us to steward rather than looking down on each other. Each one of us is unique, yet we each have a place to take alongside others.

Being accessible makes it possible for people to gain entry and join us. Being inclusive goes beyond that, this describes how we as people, our attitudes and approach to others, has the warmth of welcome to the new arrivals, the encouragement and support given so that people can get the most out of what church and society has to offer and can feel at home. With this in mind, we need to understand the different disabilities and how to approach them so that each person in the society or church feels included and welcome. In any relationship for us to grow in it and enjoy it, we need to learn how to adjust to one another so that we can accommodate one another.

We are in this thing called life together, in this life, there is no Lone Ranger, therefore, we are to depend on each other, that’s how God made us to be. 

When we realise that we are all humans, and that we all have real life stuff, we treat each other differently, we are gentle with each other, we encourage each other, we learn from each other, together we grow, we all become brothers keeper, we stand for one another, we don’t judge each other, that’s Christ likeliness. The reality still remains the same, we are all in this life together despite our conditions or categories. None of us have figured it all out, we are here to learn from each other, we need to give each other Grace, let The Holly spirit teach us, then we all together gonna figured it all out and together we shall grow and enjoy our relationships on earth together.

Toure (PT) Roberts once said, and I quote; “the human being is a rare, delicate and immeasurably valuable creation and therefore must always be handled with agapé love.” 

From Ann’s experience we can learn a lot, which can powerfully impact our Sunday school’s (kids church), nursery or reception school and schools in general, Church and Societies, any gatherings where people are involved so that they all become more inclusive and accessible. 

May we be inclusive people who reach out and empower those who have been disabled by others but have not been disempowered by God. May our hearts and attitudes be those that are inclusive and accessible first, so as to accommodate others.

My next blog shall be about the Myths Debunked Autism that Ann shared and I shall be looking at each point (kinda like a review).
Let me recognise the wonderful people who have inspired me to write this: Tony Phelps Jones, Ann Memmott and Toure (PT) Roberts. 

Please leave your comment below so that we also hear and learn from you.

http://fb.me/CSDisability

THE INCLUSIVE CHURCH AND SOCIETY 

Human beings are created to live in relationship with one another, rather than in isolation. It is through relationships that our characters and values develop.

Everyone in the society and in our church should count, for every life matters to God our creator.  

To include is to make path ways or avenues for everyone to hear, understand, and respond to the good news of Christ to the best of their abilities, to be allowed to participate, given a chance to contribute like everyone else, to give, to enjoy, and feel welcomed and be part of the church and community. It’s an issue change of mindset of not seeing persons with disabilities not as objects of charity but as equals, as boys and girls, men and women who are equal in God standing.

WHERE DOES INCLUSIVE CHURCH & SOCIETY START?
It all begins by the change of our attitudes and mindset towards persons with disabilities. It all begins by seeing disability beyond disability, where as we see the person before the disability. It all starts with an Inclusive people who have understood that our God is an Inclusive God and that inclusion is what also concerns Him much (Read Mathew 28:19-20), it also goes with inclusive thinking, inclusive ministry, inclusive language, inclusive life, inclusive buildings and an inclusive society, these are the aspects we need to understand if we are to get to a state of inclusive Church and Society, this is where it all begins. 

We could also say that the word accessible is to deal with the building, and the word inclusive is to deal with the people; to change our attitudes and our mindset toward persons of disability.   
It’s not only the church and society that needs to be inclusive. An inclusive church and society starts with inclusive individuals, inclusive minds and inclusive positive attitudes.

THE TREE MAJOR DISCRIMINATION Now let’s look at three major types of the discrimination that are out there toward the persons with disability. 

Three major types of discrimination have been identified: attitudinal, environmental, and institutional. 

Disabled people may be socially excluded by attitudes of fear and ignorance by non-disabled people, who may use negative and pejorative language about them; or they may be excluded from society because of generally low expectations of what disabled people can achieve. 
Environmental discrimination occurs when public services, buildings, and transport services are not designed with access for disabled citizens. Institutional discrimination occurs when the law discriminates (explicitly or by omission) against the rights of disabled people, making them in some way second-class citizens – without the right to vote, to own land, to attend school, to marry and have children. (Alison Harris with Sue Enfield)

GOD AND “INCLUSIVE”
There are many verses from the Bible that can testify about this but I’ll just share a few.
I was reading the “Capernaum Board Handbook” that had a beautiful translation of Mathew 28 about the mission and call to the church by Jesus Christ; “The mission and call to the church by Jesus Christ is to go and make disciples of all nations, baptise them in the name of the Father, Son and The Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). How well do we know this as Christians? Yet even though “all nations” include physically, intellectually and developmentally challenged people, we see little, if any, evidence of this is in most Christian enterprises today. So we start here as a reminder that Jesus’ call in Matthew 28 is a call for the body of Christ to see out all people. Everyone is invited to the party. To people with disabilities, this is especially good news, for they rarely are invited and welcomed anywhere.”

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

Now, we also see that God cares for all and His intentions are to make sure that we all enjoy Him as His own creation. In John 3:16, we see how God cares so much about His creation that He sent His only son to die for us, so that we all who believe in Him should not perish but have internal life. This is an invitation to all His creation and He also invites us as the Church and Society to do everything for all just as He sent His son to die for all of us not excluding anyone despite our physical or psychological state of being. 

This is my prayer that as the Church we will wake up from our sleep and respond to the call of Jesus Christ.

STATEMENTS FROM SOME OF THE FAITH LEADERS AND ORGANISATIONS 
Outside the door of every congregation, there are those who cannot enter, or once in, do not feel welcome. Through your outreach, you will be fulfilling God’s mandate to make the House of God fully inclusive to ALL the people of God! (Reverend Harold H. Wilke, Founder and Director the Healing Community).

When we think of persons with disabilities in relation to ministries, we tend to automatically think of doing something for them. We do not reflect that they can do something for us and with us…they have the same duty as all members of the community to do the Lord’s work in the world, according to their God given talents and capacities. (Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities, no. 17, NOD, 2001). 
Allah does not judge according to your bodies and appearances, but He scans your hearts and looks into your deeds. (Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam). 

Remember that all can contribute to the building of the kingdom of God and should receive the blessings of giving and receiving. All members need a friend, an assignment or calling and nourishing by the word of God (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

It’s of Gospel importance that we look at Disability beyond disability, if we are to achieve the “Inclusive Church and Society.”
It is the restricted thinking that many people have toward the persons with disabilities that bring discrimination in our churches and societies. This is a call to a change of our attitudes towards persons living with disability.

“Now Jesus met many people with illnesses and disabilities, but I don’t believe Jesus saw a ‘disabled person’; he saw a person, a full and whole person, who may have had a disability but had much more to him or her than that [Jesus] revealed there were many around who were far disabled, paralysed by legalism and having suffered an amputation of compassion and care.” (Nick Stanton explains)

SEE THE PERSON FIRST NOT THE DISABILITY 
It’s of a Gospel importance that we need to look at Disability beyond disability, it’s not a call to the Church only, but an individual call to all of us if we are to complete the body of Christ. 

“As far as am concerned, an accessible Church & Society is one where the members “ignore” the disability but instead “see” or “relate” to the person with the disability. If we all consider one another, with more respect for people who are different, life would be more better for everyone.” (Andrew Bartley)

It’s of a Gospel importance that we need to look at Disability beyond disability, it’s not just the church’s call but an individual call to all of us, if we are to complete the body of Christ. 

WHAT ABOUT THE DISABILITY MODELS?
We need all the models of disability intervention (Medical, Social and Relational) but most importantly, we need a model that will help us to steward the issues of disability, that model that will help us to empower and include persons with disabilities. We need to map out something that will help us see the identity of a person clearly in the Lord rather than from the disability itself or how the society defines it. This model is called, “THE RELATIONAL MODEL.” I found this model very significant in the issues of inclusion. Bellow is how Tony Phelps Jones explained it from the book; “Making Church accessible to all”:

THE RELATIONAL MODEL 
Human beings are created to live in relationship with others than in isolation. It is through relationships that our character and values develop. In the relational model, we work together to make the best of any circumstances in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. We recognise that we are all dependent on others for elements of our daily life and needs, so a key word in this model is ‘interdependency’. Everyone has something to contribute, from which others can benefit. This sits comfortably with the New Testament understanding of church and the indispensability of every person. 

Each of the models we’ve considered (Medical, Social and Relational models of disability) can help our thought process, but the relational model draws us back to God as we consider God’s view of people and their potential. The tri-approach (using the 3 models of disability) can bring very good results too. You can learn more about the 3 models of disability intervention from my previous blog.

An inclusive faith community means that every person, regardless of ability, is offered the same respect and opportunity to participate in their worshiping community. Differences are both accommodated and celebrated so that each individual feels a sense of welcome and belonging. (Pathways.org)

In all societies, many families respond to disability by being over-protective. They rarely allow disabled family members to go outside the home, in case they get hurt or ridiculed. Everyhing is done for the disabled person, includ- ing things that he or she would be perfectly able to do independently. The effect of this over-protectiveness, usually motivated by love, is to render the disabled person passive and inactive, and to feel helpless and patronised. Denied the freedom to take risks and responsibility or to learn from mistakes, he or she is permanently treated as a child, and not allowed to grow up. 

“Disabled people want to be treated as normal citizens, with rights. They want to be treated equally and participate as equal citizens in their own communities. To achieve this, you need political and social action to change society.” (Alison Harris with Sue Enfield ” Disability, Equality, and Human Rights A Training Manual
for Development and Humanitarian Organisations”)

A welcoming Church and Society as part of inclusive offers empowerment, not pity; advocacy not avoidance; and support not stigma. (Disability and Faith)

May we be inclusive people who reach out to those who have been disabled by others but never disempowered by God. May our Church and Societies be the ones in which everyone is considered as a Human created in God’s image and have something to offer and contribute. May we be inclusive by also not overlooking the needs of the persons with disability. The issue of inclusion lies at the heart of a Chrisian who is a follower of Jesus Christ and honours His church. We need to workout something that will allow all people to initiate and engage in the activities in our own churches and societies at each ones capacity and best of ability, where all people will be empowered, able to respond and contribute for the good of the community and church development. 

Key things to focus on: Empowerment, Engage, Discipleship, Listening, Leadership development, Identity, Invitation, Accommodate, Cerebrate, Disability, Access, Society, Church, and Home.

I got much inspired to write this by my own experience in my own church and community and in the activities am engaged in and the conversation I’ve had with different people including persons with disabilities (especially the care givers “mothers”) of persons (children) with disabilities and got some inspiration from different articles and video clips talking about disability and again I’ve been inspired by the things that have surrounded me. 

http://fb.me/CSDisability (You can access much of my thoughts about Disability, Church and Society in writing through this link). I would like to hear from you too so please leave a comment.

SWEET LITTLE ANGEL IN MY CHURCH 

Not all angels need to have wings.

As I am travelling to Mzuzu for interviews aboard one of the most comfortable buses in town and while in the bus, am processing through my mind, what has been happening to me in my church for the past few Sundays.

I have a friend who is a mother to this sweet, little adopted daughter, who is an angel, she is autistic and she is so cute. Every Sunday her mom comes with her to church, because she loves church a lot, especially when it is time for worship. 
On one Sunday during church service, she left her mom and run straight into my arms, hugged me and gave me this beautiful smile. By the way, at church I am privileged to serve and lead the Hospitality ministry, so I am always at the back with my team, serving the Lord through the congregation. Back to my story; this is not the first time this sweet angel has done this precious and awesome gesture to me, but this time around I noticed something beautiful in her that humbled my pride. I can’t seem to remember what songs we were singing at that particular time, but it was a sweet worship song. I helped this sweet little angel to sit on a piece of wood that I like to sit on during the time to listen to the message, and so I stood near her. The little angel raised her arms in worship and I could see that she was into the worship song and the song too, was into her . She Closed her eyes and with arms raised in the air, while she praised the Lord, I stood by her side smiling and admiring the beauty of her gesture in praising and worshiping her maker. This whole thing melted my heart, I tell you, “raised hands of an autistic child praising God, just like any other person.” While i stood by her side, I joined her in worshiping and praising the Lord, though I couldn’t tell what she was saying, I didn’t mind because I knew whatever it was, the Lord heard and it made sense and made Him smile too.  
Recently, on Sunday, I was in church again. In our church, we have a kids church (in some churches they call it Sunday school), this is an environment where kids are given an opportunity to learn and grow in Love with the Lord, at their own pace and in the way that they can relate and understand effectively as kids. We have well trained and committed leaders within the church who are responsible for this. So this Little angel came again, but left after worship, to go and attend the kids church together with the other kids. After the kids church had finished, she came into the main service, she was so free that she didn’t want anyone to touch her including her mom, so she she kept on walking around during church service and this made her mom look concerned over her, not until she came where I was standing, so I gave her a hug and took her in my arms and I gave her mom a sign that she was safe, because by then she (mom) wanted to come for her, but instead she stayed were she was sited and enjoyed the rest of the service to the end of it, and I had a nice time with this little angel. 
After the service, her mom came to get her daughter, from my arms, I gave her daughter, in her arms too. She thanked me and then we had a personal talk, and chilled, then we said our goodbye’s to each other, and wished each other a good day, and the rest of the week.

A thought came to my mind from all that had happened and from what we talked about with the little angels mom. I asked myself, “what if church is the only place this mother has a chance to sit down and have some spiritual input?”, “what if it’s another tough situation when she goes back home, where she has to raise the kid on her own?” It should be tough at home I suppose, to raise her on her own. I sensed that this mother needs help every Sunday and someone needs to be there for her on these Sundays when she comes to attend service.
I would like to agree with Tony Phelps Jones who said something in one of his books “Making Church Accessible to all”, he said; 

“Raising a child will always come with mix of joy and challenges. In response to that, the work done with families in our churches appears to be on the increase, and the need to work with families who have a child with additional needs is becoming a greater probability.”

When families raising a kid(s) with additional needs, who attend our churches, the things that they need are; welcome, acceptance, good communication and accessibility to feel that they belong to a community. The issues of having a child with additional needs are not present only on a Sunday. These families will have to go home and cope with multiple challenges for the rest of week. There is more that a church can and should do said Tony Phelps. 

Wow! There is so much truth in these two points made by Tony Phelps. If we are to achieve an inclusive Church and Society, we, as a Church, Society, and individuals need to start thinking inclusively but most importantly, we as individuals need to be thinking inclusive for we make the Church and Society. There is more we can do and should do to make our Church and Society inclusive and accessible to all.

What is Disability?

What comes to your mind when you think (of) or here the term/word “Disability”?

Is it a person on a wheel chair as on the universal sign/picture of disability as the picture I’ve used in this blog?

I would like to share my thoughts by using the ICF and the three (3) models of disability. Some might agree and some might disagree with this and I’ll appreciate it if you leave your comment after learning from this, so that we all learn from each other.

According to ICF (International Classification of Functioning) disability is defined as a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired, relative to the usual standard of an individual or group. The term is used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment mental illness, and various types of chronic disease.

The ICF gives to us a medical definition, again, let’s try to see this through the disability models. 

My references and focus in explaining what disability is, will come from Tony Phelps from his book, called “Making Church Accessible to all” (Pg 32) and, McNair (disabled Christianity 2016), Young Life Capernaum (Special needs ministry), Board Handbook and GeorGe F. White (from an article “People with Disabilities in Christian Community”). 

Now, let’s look into the three (3) models of disability:

THE MEDICAL MODEL 

Are people with disabilities to be seen as needing a cure, help or care? This medical model is the default position in the society where people go to the doctor to get their problems sorted. There’s nothing wrong with that principle. We need medical expertise and hospitals. We need the intervention that can minimise pain, discomfort and healthy risks while maximising mobility and quality of life. Basically this Medical model sees disability as a characteristic of an individual. The problem with this medical model, is that people can become defined by there disability rather than their personality. They become something to be fixed or someone to be cared for. It can leave disabled people feeling that they’ve lost control of their lives, that others make the decision for them. Dignity and independence are eroded. 

THE SOCIAL MODEL 

The Social model basically says disability is discrimination. That is, I have a characteristic called impairment and because of that characteristic, I am discriminated by the social environment. 

This model assets that, what hinders or dis-ables people is not their limited physical or mental abilities but, rather, the failure of the society to adopt or modify, so that everyday provisions of life are accessible and convenient for every body. 

THE RELATIONAL MODEL 

Human beings are created to live in relationship with others and not in isolation. It is through relationships that our character and values develop. 

As long as the medical model of disability is important in the intervention of disability as it helps to improve the mobility, reduce the pain and discomfort, improving the quality of life, and prevention of more damage, it does not focus much on the Community and Social Integration. From Medical integration , what Next? With the understanding of Social and Relational models of disability, I now understand that we don’t just have to focus on medical intervention of disability but also on Social and Relational model intervention, that will help in the community integration of the people living with disabilities and dealing with the on going issue of discrimination. 

“In the relational model, we work together to make the best of any circumstances in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. In Relational model (intervention) We recognise that we are all dependent on others for elements of our daily life and needs, so a key word in this model is ‘interdependency’. Everyone has something to contribute, from which others can benefit,” suggested Tony Phelps.

“But one of the most important is the ability to develop and implement social model intervention which would lead to community integration and attenuated discrimination towards those living with disabilities,” suggested by McNair.

We have been called to work on an inclusive “we” Church and Society against the “we vs them” attitude where we are all “part of,” not others being “part from.” If we are to achieve this, then we need to start acting and thinking in terms of an inclusive “we.” It’s of the Gospel importance to do so. God cares so much about all His creation that after He made it all, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good”(Genesis 1:31).

I get worried sometimes that we treat people living with disability as objects of charity or prayer, instead of men and women who also need to hear and see the Gospel and Experience the good news of Christ, live freely in the society, and able to share and embrace their abilities and limitations, crack jokes, contribute and enjoy the company of others without being judged or viewed as burdens. This is one of the many attitudes that devalue people with disabilities in our Churches and Societies and these attitudes needs to be dealt with if we are to achieve an inclusive Church and Society.

Swindon Mirrors (2001) states that, “the church cannot truly be transformed if we assume that we are doing ministry for ‘them.’ We can only understand the need for change when we realize that we are making changes in order that the Body of Christ can be made whole” (p. 57). I would like to agree with Russel Moore again as he said, “the mission of the church must be to proclaim everlasting life, and to work to honor every life made in the image of God, whether inside or outside the people of God.”

To agree with Swindon Mirrors and Russel Moore, I feel, this is how we as the church need to work; towards an inclusive Church which will letter bring an inclusive Society. 

It’s all about answering to the call from our Lord himself and the only way we can build our Church and Society, is by being more inclusive, and by fulfilling this call. Scripture clearly invites and shows us that our God is an inclusive God, the “Incarnation” testifies it all. I shall talk more about the “Inclusive” Church and Society with reference from “Incarnation” in my next blog called, “WHERE DOES THE INCLUSIVE CHURCH & SOCIETY STARTS?” this shall be my focus on my next blog. 

Working Towards the inclusive Church is not just the call to the church but but also to us as individuals and this is of the Gospel importance that will complete the body of Christ. Persons with disabilities have so much to offer and to contribute and are not to be viewed as people in need of help, prayers, nor objects of charity but as a people created in God’s own image. They are not to be defined by their disability but by person first, for their personality. We all have enormous potential, and God sees us not as we are now but as we will be by His grace. People with disabilities can look forward to a future where they will not only be recipients of God’s grace but also channels of His grace to others. Let’s never forget that people/children with disabilities are people first, fearfully and wonderfully made. 

“Of course you should treat someone like a human being, and not reduce them to their diagnosis.” Said Alyssa in her blog “The language of disability.”

I’ll share more about the “Inclusive “Church and Society”, what it means and where we can start in my next blog.

I have used a universal disability picture in my blog.

Thank you for taking time to read my blog, please leave your comment below, Like and share.

For more information please visit my Facebook page, “Church, Society & Disability” by following the link below

http://fb.me/CSDisability

Church, Society & Disability

Often, when we are talking about issues concerning disability, we usually don’t miss talking about Church, Society and Disability (itself). These three are so important when it comes to issues concerning disability. 

I developed this idea of Church, Society and Disability just to focus on these three subjects that are so vital in issues concerning disability. 

Each one of these has it’s own unique importance that relates to each other and talking about one, will not leave the other out. The key issue in all these subjects when thinking about disabled people is to remember that they are people first, people who happened to have a disability not the other way round. 

I’ve grown with a passion on the issues of disabilities not because now am a Medical Rehabilitation Technician but because I’ve seen a need of a ministry of disability and I have a big passion for it. My passion came after I’ve seen how big of a problem it is in our Churches and societies when it comes to the issues of disabilities (especially on the issue of accessibility and inclusion). I have a big passion for kids living with disabilities. I work with an organisation that sees, assesses and provides treatment and different services to the medical, developmental and physical disabilities with kids and young adults. I am always close to the mothers who have kids living with disabilities. I hear their cries, the pain which they pass through everyday that comes as a result of having a kid(s) living with disabilities, the discrimination from church and society and some stories they share with me are very sad. 

There is a huge need to focus on the issues of inclusive Church and Society. The social integration that is on paper is not that effective on the ground. The society is more disabled than persons living with disability so as the church. There is a huge need of a ministry that will focus on the issues of disability to help in the issue of  an “Inclusive Church and Society” otherwise it’s an issue just on paper only. 

I’ll be sharing my thoughts on these issues especially on Church and Society and the approaches and models of disability and how the inclusive church and society should look like. These will be my ideas and I’ll be quoting some other great authors on these issues with their permission. You can visit my Facebook page to read more of this by searching “Church, Society & Disability”, like and share to spread the word. 
George F. white (Director of Church Ministries, Camp Barnabas) in his published article, “People with Disabilities in Christian Community”  states some very important key words in one of his article, his articles shall be my focus too;  “disability, disability ministry, church, inclusion, Christian community.”

I like this picture from sevenly.org that has a beautiful message; “A COMMUNITY THAT EXCLUDE ONE MEMBER IS NOT A COMMUNITY AT ALL”. This is a huge message and it’s so profound with its significance. 

I for one, I do believe that we are all one and equal as we all were created in God’s image and I believe too that there are no disabled souls. 

Church, Society & Disability