The church is the body of Christ, belonging together, to continue Jesus’ ministry of sharing God’s healing love. God created humans as relational beings to live in a loving, socially supportive community. Healthy churches easily provide positive relationships and inclusive community via their normal activities.
There are people with disabilities seeking free and affordable social activities where they are welcome and able to join in. Churches should inform their LAC of their activities The full list for your area is here.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” [1 Cor. 12:20 NIV]
When we consider the image of a body, all the parts are connected to work as one whole. The church is described as one body consisting of many parts with each one of us impacted by the others – what they do and do not do, impacts the whole body. Each part is equally important to the function and health of the whole body. Everyone has something to offer and there is no difference between us before God, therefore there is no discrimination by ability, race, gender, wealth, age… In fact, the people we may think of the less able or weaker are “indispensable” to the whole body and its function (1 Corinthians 12:22). This is an important scripture message about the critical importance of inclusion of everyone!
Read a reflection on the church as the body of Christ in Connections guide 10 ‘Theology of belonging’ called ‘Each person has a part to play’ and ‘Your church is a community without division where everyone belongs’.
Baptist Care’s Church Pathways Team has received funding from the NDIA Inclusion, Linkage and Capacity Building’ grant program to undertake a 12-month project (July 2021-June 2022) titled ‘Co-design and Connect’ which will work with churches to co-design strategies and activities that foster connection, participation and inclusion for children and young people with disabilities, so they and their families can more fully participate in the fullness of faith community life.
As Project Coordinator, you will work collaboratively with the Church Pathways and Disability Pathways teams at Baptist Care SA, and Baptist churches to co-design, manage, and co-deliver the ‘Co-design and Connect’ project across metropolitan and regional South Australia over 12 months starting in July 2021.
You will have relevant qualifications and experience in disability, health, and/or community services, and a heart that wants to see children and young people with disability participate fully in church life. Your goal is to facilitate the development or redesign of accessible, collaborative inclusion activities that enable children and young people to be part of a faith community that is genuinely ‘better together’.
After the Connections project ended we sought to sustain the wonderful inclusion growth we had achieved by continuing to network together to share inclusion ideas, resources, strategies, and opportunities for inclusion between interested Christians and their churches. All who are interested in this area of church ministry are very welcome.
Contact E: [email protected] for more information and join us at our next ‘Disability Inclusion Network SA’ meeting at Broadview Baptist Church, 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday 11 August.
Joanna, Anne, Rachael and Vicky
P.S. Watch out for our ‘Building inclusive communities’ small group discussion guide in the ‘Building Kingdom Communities’ series of small group studies that will be released soon.