Moment for Mission
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. — Romans 8:14
Imagine not being able to enter a place of worship on a Sunday morning or not being able to participate in a Sunday school class or small group. Imagine not being able to participate or communicate during a worship service. These are things often taken for granted by most United Methodist churchgoers. We observe Disability Awareness Sunday each year so that we keep in front of us those among our congregations and communities who are differently abled.
Whether we are taking a look within at the needs of current members or looking out toward meeting the needs of our community, it is important that we consider what changes might be made so that all children of God can fully participate in the life of our United Methodist Church. That may mean updating the facilities or adding additional opportunities for study at varying levels. The Book of Discipline reminds us of this when it calls upon the church to be inclusive, making way for all persons, regardless of mental, physical or developmental needs or conditions.
Each year, as we observe Disability Awareness Sunday, it should be a call to action — a call to look around with new eyes, seeking ways that our congregations can ensure that all of God’s children are welcome, that they have opportunities for discipleship and that they may fully participate in the activities of the church.
Loving God, we come to you as your children with our many different needs and abilities. Open our eyes to see, our ears to hear and our hearts that we might act so that we may be moved to open new doors that all your children may come in and live fully into the life of your church. Amen.
From Disciple Ministries: Seventh Sunday After Pentecost – Most Gracious God, you have rescued us from despair and death by the glorious resurrection of Christ your Son. Now you remain with us, empowering us by your Spirit. Turn our hearts in compassion for people who struggle in darkness and danger. We renew our commitment to serve you through our church’s mission outreach. Use our tithes and gifts to kindle the light of the risen Christ in our community and throughout the world. We pray in his name. Amen. (Psalm 86)
At the time of the last United States census, nearly one in five Americans were reported to have a disability.
Disabilities can include trouble hearing, seeing and walking, as well as mental impairment often associated with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Aging populations are the most vulnerable; however, people of all ages can have disabilities.
Each year, The United Methodist Church observes Disability Awareness Sunday as a reminder that the church is called to be in ministry with all of God’s children, regardless of abilities and needs. It is a Sunday when we are called to look for the overlooked and to listen for those with no voice. Whether it is the elderly member that now has trouble hearing, the child diagnosed with autism, or the young person in a wheelchair, we are reminded on Disability Awareness Sunday that the doors of our church must swing open wide enough for all of God’s children.