One in four of us are disabled – through having a physical, intellectual, learning, sight, hearing, or psychological impairment. How open is our church to hear the experience of disability? How accessible are our buildings? How inclusive are our worship and other activities to those of us with disabilities?
Disability Awareness Sunday gives us the opportunity to reflect on disability and our faith. The Gospel constantly challenges us to see what we perceive as our weaknesses, as well as our strengths, as being gifts that can be used in the work of God. In Christ we build a new community where all people are called to serve and to be served. Disabled and non-disabled are called together to build this community where all give and receive.
Disability has deep spiritual significance because it is about being human. Disability is part of human experience. The challenge of disability demands of all of us new ways of thinking so every person can offer their particular gifts in the ministry and mission of God. The Body of Christ is incomplete when disabled people, one quarter of us, are not able to offer gifts to the church.
Note: Disability Awareness Sunday is usually marked on the third Sunday in June, which is this Sunday, the 16th. It is possible to mark it on a more convenient Sunday – and given that this Sunday is also our Climate Mission Sunday, we invite churches to choose a more convenient Sunday to mark this important occasion.
For resources, check this resource page:
You may also like to peruse the resources produced by Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand last year for the Roman Catholic Church’s Social Justice Week on the topic of disability and participation. You can access their website here.
The Attitude Trust does amazing work for people with disabilities, and has a fantastic website full of stories that can help to educate and inspire. Check our Attitude Live here.
If you would like to talk, or to have more information, on disability issues and the church please email the General Secretary:
Michael Hughes email@example.com
From: Rev Vicki Terrell
Disability Community Chaplain
Diocese of Auckland