There is work going on amongst para-church organisations to use the Paralympics to raise awareness of disability in churches - going beyond the ramp and a warm welcome, but actually including those with disabilities and additional needs fully in the life of the church.
But what happens when it’s all over? For a while, we will be inspired. To quote the Olympic catch phrase, a generation will have been inspired too. But for how long?
Here’s some things that may take this inspiration beyond the Paralympics:
- The Disability Sunday pack - written to be used during the event, but easily used on any day. It may fit better at a different time of year for your church, or you may have only just found out about it, but please - use it.
- The Enabling Church study book - ideal for churches who wanted to take a fresh look at what the Bible has to say about disability and become equipped to be more inclusive.
- I know of another book currently going through the editorial process - one that I have had the privilege of writing one of the chapters for. I’ll give you more information when I have it.
- Have a look at the Livability page "Your Church And Disability"
- Scripture Union do ‘Additional Needs’ camps (The link takes you to the camps just gone - but you can request a brochure for next year)
- My own organisation (Children Worldwide) will be doing a weekend retreat for families who have a child with complex medical needs and mobility difficulties. See the page about "Latitude"
- Both Urban Saints and Children Worldwide have people who can run a training event for churches who want to know more about children with additional needs and disabilities.
- Churches for All have contacts who would be happy to come a do training on any aspect of disability for your church. Have a good look around this new look web site
- If you want to see a good example of disability information on a website, have a look at the National Space Centre in Leicester - the info is helpful and clear and the centre itself is completely accessible and welcoming. Let’s get the churches in the UK doing this even better!