It’s a sad fact but true: people with disabilities are often excluded from many aspects of the life and ministry of a congregation. To help churches address that problem, Disability Concerns, in partnership with the Gray Center and the CLC Network, recently sponsored a conference called “One Body Together in Christ.”
Nearly 140 participants came to Trinity CRC in Jenison, Mich., from around the state and from several denominations to talk about the imperative of including people with disabilities in every aspect of congregational life.
Keynote speaker Barb Newman encouraged participants to see that every person, whether or not that person is called “disabled,” has unique gifts and unique needs. At one point, she asked Jonathan, a boy with Down syndrome, to come stand next to her. Jonathan had played the role of Jesus in a drama at the conference. Newman noted that he added richness to his portrayal of Jesus in a way that someone without Down syndrome would not have been able to do.
Conference participants enjoyed a hearty brunch, browsed resources, and attended two of seven workshops offered on a variety of topics relating to ministry with people with disabilities.
Disability Concerns is a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church. To learn more, or for information about having a conference in your area, please contact Rev. Mark Stephenson at 888-463-0272.