Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Beyond the Paralympics

Over the next couple of weeks we will all be ooo-ing and aaah-ing over the achievements of those taking part in the Paralympics. It’s all nice and warm and fuzzy - and why should’t it be?! This is something to be celebrated, and I for one will be watching as much as my work load allows.

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! 
And books for Kids:
  • Some fantastic Books by Victoria Beech and the Paediatric Chaplaincy Network (Scroll down the page when you get there). Tackling subjects such as life limiting illness, hospital stays and the death of a sibling.
  • And one little gem I've just found - Rebecca Elliott: "Just Because"

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