Most people who walk the red carpet are famous Hollywood celebrities. But on April 25-27, the red carpet of inclusion was rolled out for all people--including people with disabilities. The event, called “IN 2014,” was organized by Hope Centre Ministries. Hope Centre, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is supported by the Christian Reformed Church. It provides spiritual support for those living with disabilities.
The event highlights the inclusion of people living with disabilities into church communities. Approximately 600 people, including men and women with disabilities, caregivers, and pastors representing 14 denominations, participated. Attendees listened to workshops on topics such as parenting a special needs child, ADHD, inclusion ideas, and more. They also attended a concert, Sunday worship, and a movie with a red carpet premiere.
Shellie Power, director of spiritual care for Hope Centre Ministries, said, “We categorize people. We are all in our different groups. This was a day to lay that all down and focus on God’s inclusion. What a beautiful picture!”
Part of the weekend included the screening of Our Beautiful Secret, a movie about a young man named Jonathan Peavey who has cerebral palsy. Staff members dressed in ball gowns celebrated the event by decorating the entrance with a red carpet.
“Everyone wants to feel honored and special,” said Power. “It communicated exactly what we wanted to communicate. It was a celebration of life, not just another movie.”
People with disabilities participated in the event as seminar presenters, participants on panel discussion boards, food services, and background support providers.
This is the second year Hope Centre Ministries has hosted an “IN” weekend. It was supported by Disability Concerns, a CRC ministry that helps churches nurture the spiritual lives of people who have disabilities.