Differently Abled, Special Needs,
all labels inadequate at describing the abilities
and challenges of our humanity.
While there is a breadth to this genre
there are ironically also minimal resources
for engaging the church around disABILITY ministries.
The ELCA has resources for all ages here.
From Ephesians 4:7:
"This passage accounts for many of the gifts for ministry in the body of Christ and then indicates why the inclusion, participation and contribution of all worshipers counts. In Ephesians 4:12-13 we read: To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. The ELCA’s Disability Ministries program is dedicated to ensuring that the body described in Ephesians makes full use of the gifts of people living with disabilities." Read more...
Northwestern Ohio Synod Special Needs Awareness Task Force - Seeing all people, regardless of ability, through the eyes of Jesus, the Special Needs Awareness Task Force of the Northwestern Ohio Synod is prepared to assist congregations with the following:
Disability awareness materials, including opportunities for experiential training.
Special Needs Ministry - Frequently churches are ill equipped to welcome special needs youth and their families; when we look around our churches on Sunday morning we don’t often see special needs youth participating. Sensing that their children do not “belong”, families of special needs youth either stay away from church or adapt by attending church services in shifts, causing their special needs youth to remain on the “outside” and lessening their own experience of church life. When the church does not have a plan in place to help them, special needs youth and their families can drift to the periphery of church life. SNM has a handbook that provides practical methods for the Body of Christ to include special needs youth and see them grow in their Christian faith as active members. (written by Amy Rapada)
Rhythms of Grace out of the Episcopal tradition offers a church experience for those who don't feel comfortable in a traditional worship setting.
Joyful Noise Worship - This ELCA church provides worship appropriate for children with Autism, PDD-NOS, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome and any other developmental/physical challenges. Catering to short attention spans, the service is a lively combination of music, movement, prayer, Bible stories and communion.
The Feast - At Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, TX. The Feast is a worship service in which everyone belongs. It is our hope and prayer that this service is a welcome place for those with special needs, their families and friends, and all who have a heart for special needs. It is a place where we all come together to worship God. There will be opportunities for everyone to participate in the service: from singing and dancing to scripture reading and prayer to welcoming and greeting. For more info contact: Rev. Ramsey PattonAssociate Pastor, Director of Caring Ministriesoffice: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christian Learning Center Network - We partner with schools, churches, and families to create inclusive communities for persons at all levels of ability and disability.As experts in inclusive education for more than twenty-five years, we come alongside your Christian community to help you include and support all of God’s people – regardless of their level of ability – so that the kingdom can be more complete. Some resources include: Inclusive Language suggestions for worship, a FREE download to survey the needs of your congregation and community. And if your church leadership/congregation needs any convincing about the importance for people of ALL abilities to be together watch this video.
The Sound of All Things written by Myron Uhlberg and illustrated by Ted Papoulas opens our understanding to the lives of the deaf. Too long for a children's sermon but could be read in a Sunday School class or read in the home.
Voice of Care - Voice of Care is a ministry helping the Church provide spiritual care to people with disabilities and those who care for them.Voice of Care works with churches to train ministry workers and lay volunteers to serve at their own congregations and in the community. In turn, these volunteers share Jesus' love through church and community site programming and special needs camps.
Mosaic - Embracing God's call to serve in the world, Mosaic advocates for people with intellectual disabilities and provides opportunities for them to enjoy a full life.
The tAble 2018: You Belong
The tAble (formerly the Definitely-abled Youth Leadership Event or DAYLE) is a pre-event to the Gathering that blesses and empowers young people who live with a wide range of physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities so that they might grow as faithful, wise and courageous witnesses. The event also gives participants the opportunity to acclimate and orient themselves to Houston and the venues in which the Gathering are being held.
The tAble is open to youth ages 14-18 or engaged in a high school youth group or enrolled in high school or the vocational education equivalent. Youth who attend the tAble must be accompanied by an adult companion.
The tAble will be held June 24–27, 2018. The cost for the tAble is $190 per person and includes all housing, program and some food expenses during the tAble.
Friendship Ministry - The purpose of the Friendship program is to nurture the spiritual growth of people with intellectual disabilities in the context of personal and meaningful relationships. Here’s how it works:
- Sessions often start in a large group with singing, sharing, and prayer.
- Next, a Bible lesson is shared. This usually includes group participation, often in drama format.
- This is followed by one-on-one time, where mentors and friends meet to discuss the Bible lesson and pray together. Often this time includes activities related to the Bible study.
- Finally, the group gathers again for social time and a closing prayer or song. (Voice of Care owns a complete set of their Bible Study series and it is available on loan for churches to use.)