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Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

Having a place to worship and belong is important to many people, including those people living with disabilities. But we must never lose sight of the Big Audacious Goal, which is to introduce people to Jesus! The goal for those of us working in disability ministry is not inclusion, but I do believe people becoming active members of a congregation can be a by-product of a person coming to Christ.

So, my fellow workers in the kingdom, I challenge you to remember why we do what we do and that is to bring people to Christ and to help them grow deeper in their walk! It is not about inclusion or a person with a disability, it is all about Jesus!

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Recently, a fellow ministry worker was sharing with me some of the new things she was doing in her very traditional church. One of those new things included helping a bunch of very cool adults (I have met them, they are a fun bunch) with intellectual disabilities participate in the sacrament of communion. She was sharing some of the staff and volunteers concerns.
Can they really take communion?
Yes, they understand what it is to be in relationship with Jesus.
Do they understand the significance of the sacrament?
Yes, they have been taught and we have practiced in our classroom?
What if…something goes wrong?
I snickered and stated something may go wrong. Then my mind drifted…

I over the years I have worshiped in places where it was customary to move out of the pew and move toward taking the elements. As a child, the small white wafer was placed on the tongue and I swallowed the wafer, and there was never an issue. But because, of safety, a wafer is now often placed in ones hand. This can often bring me to a place of dread, will I be steady enough to pick the wafer or bread up, will I drop it…. What will happen…and the juice… Over the years, I may have worn more juice then swallowed it.

Because of my hand coordination my preferred method is intinction, a method where the bread is dipped in the juice or wine. Because it is bread, so the pieces are normally larger and I have better control over these things. But oh…those small little cups, that are often over filled. I see the tray coming and I want to run or hide, or have the cups pass me by…I have dropped full trays…and have left places of worship with red stains on my clothing, feeling mortified, ashamed and left out of one of the most important traditions we have as Christians! I have had better meaning people point out the stains on my clothing, bringing more embarrassment. I have cried on many occasions, feeling it was so unfair this beautiful sacrament, had been marred because of my physical limits…

I began to tell my colleague about spilling and her very quick wonderful reaction was the blood of the Lamb washed you. My perception…of all of those spills changed with that phrase…for I am glad I am made clean by Jesus blood…. And with that I will go boldly to the communion table in the future. Do you come to the table boldly!

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A tribute

Today I am mourning.  I am mourning the loss of a man who changed my life for ever.   I have not seen this man for 8 years, but for the 10 years prior Bobby was a part of my life!

I met Bobby when he was 40.  “Me, Bob Locke”, was the way he introduced himself, he captured my heart and because of him I am a better person.  Bobby was 40 and moving into his first apartment.  He had spent several years prior in institions and group homes.  The day I met him he was just doing “trial visits” to his new apartment at Greenwood.  He seemed so hard to understand, but Bob was patiented and worked hard to share his story.  He used gestures to speak, making signs for work and his place of work.  He worked at a Red Lobster, a restaurant I still frequent and think of Bobby and his love for life, his friends and his family.  Bob loved something more then life!  Bob reminded us often, “I am not a boy, and I am a man.”

Bob was one of the few people who ever put me to shame.  An angry woman, who was as far away from God as anyone.  Bobby loved God, church and praise music!  He would sing old hymns with his room mates and study scripture.   I did not believe Jesus existed or there was a God who wanted a personal relationship.  Bobby’s faith was real and he wanted me to have a real faith and so he prayed for me and dragged me off to church.  One of those Sunday’s I realized Jesus was real and he wanted a personal relationship with me.  I think Bobby was a tremendous minister, yet, I am sure not many people saw him in that light.

Bobby taught me about Joy, he taught me what it was to dream dreams and achieve them!  I live the life of joy and vision because of Bob Locke.

I am so grateful for the gift of Bobby!  Thank you Jesus.

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An advocate

 

In the disabled community, people are always advocating for something, better care, more funding, housing, jobs, quality of life and the list goes on and on!  I grow weary when I think of all the things this community needs, acceptance, freedom, love, places to get incredible education,  people who will hire us in spite of………, an understanding of what it is to be fully included in all of life, including where people worship.  

I have struggled for years with finding balance regarding advocacy.  I want people to be aware of the myriad of needs my community has, I want to educate, I want to push for better everything, but yet, I do not want to be that over the top militant person fighting for every inch in this community.   I want to be whom God created me to be, a gal with a love for the people God has placed in my life, helping them to get to the next station in life. 

I am an advocate, today, I am aware of a friend who is a bigger advocate for all people, as I write, as you read this Jesus is advocating for you and me in heaven.  What a relief there is an advocate who goes before you and me and to know he has our best interests in mind!

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I have been thinking about writing a personal book for a long time!   I know the journey I have had the privilege to walk with the Father has been amazing and over the years, I have been changed and influenced by the people who God has placed at my lives table.  This morning I started to make a list of people who have influenced me both positively and negatively to the point of changing the way I look at and live my life.   The first list:  biological mom, foster mom, grandparents,  Mr. Fischer (a high school history and English teacher), Orlando Rivera, Pastor Hunter,  Nancy Campbell and Diana Oxford nothing to earth shattering!  If you knew each of these people and how they have poured into me personally or through the ministry God has given them it makes perfect sense.

My second list:  Kathy (Katie) Scram,  Jody Scott,  Milo Harter, Arthur Lee Austin, Beverly Jones, Bobby Locke, Stacy Thomas, Bob Stout and Steve Scott, and Kathy Stank.  An unusual list if you knew these people.  Each of them have given me gifts such as laughter, courage, faith, endurance, freedom,  problem solving,  compassion, leadership, and a respect for how God creates each of us to be unique and to have great purpose.  These people most would have cast out long ago; frankly, many have been cast aside living in homes with little or no contact with family or friends and little control over their lives.  All of them living with some type of disabilities and not expected to influence (lead) others.  I know this first hand, because they have influenced how I view my table and who should be invited to sit and eat at my table.

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