Faithlink Discussion: Disability Awareness Sunday
by Jacob Juncker
It was within the first six months of my ministry in Lafayette. A young woman and her mother came to the church inquiring about the church’s wedding policy. Our church secretary shared with them the “wedding guidebook” and I stepped in to show them around the church. We walked through the entryway, I showed her where her the changing rooms are and then we walked into the sanctuary. She pointed to the dais and alter (raised roughly 4 steps) and asked if that was where her and her fiance would be wed. I told her that it was. She then asked if there was a ramp. Her fiance was wheel-chair bound. I had to share with her that I was unaware of a ramp, but if she was wed at the church that I would make sure a ramp was installed. They left and i never heard from them again. I can’t help but wonder if the inaccessibility of our chancel area was a deterrent.
I wonder how much ministry has been lost because we, our facilities and ministries, were not accessible to all persons regardless of their mental, physical or spiritual capacity.
Almighty and creating God; we come before you today as people who are separated from one another by fear, prejudice, and ignorance. By our language, actions and facilities we declare insiders and outsiders in our lives and in our church. Forgive us and create in us the vision of opening our hearts, minds, and doors as wide as the love of God, so that no one is left outside. Help us to reach beyond ourselves to discover the joy of community. Give us the patience to discover that all people have gifts and abilities to share with our community of faith. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
from “UMCOR – Disability Awareness Sunday” at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/work/health/events/disabilityawareness/. Accessed October 25, 2010.