I love the way Spring Harvest have embedded disability awareness into the centre of their being. They do what they can to be inclusive within the constraints all organisations have, whether Christian or secular. It is standard practice for health and safety to ‘trump’ inclusion when it comes to large events, and I believe Spring Harvest balance all these things really well. They do the best they can with the resources they have at their disposal.
Of course, Spring Harvest is more than an ‘organisation’. It’s a group of people who work all year round to make this amazing event happen, and an army of volunteers who work tirelessly not just at the event but sometimes for months before the event too.
I love working with this bunch of wonderful people - they’re like family! They accept me, include me, support me, and have me on the team year round so I can do the same for others who have a disability or additional need.
Their belief in me is humbling - I hope I can live up to it.
I want to say a huge thank you to the many guests who opened doors for me, stopped and chatted, were not afraid to ask questions about access, my job, or even my new snazzy wheelchair.
I also want to say a huge thank you to those who wrestled with getting large print and Braille song words out for the celebrations, the teams of BSL interpreters who were willing to support so many in the celebrations, streams and seminars, and the Stewards who often went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure guests who needed some extra support got it. Many, many volunteers had a part in making sure everything came together and worked.
And I especially want to thank those who so graciously accepted advice when we needed to point out when things were not working for specific guests and then speedily sorted things out.
I loved the gracious responses of those guests who, due to the health and safety restrictions, had to accept things done in a way that wouldn't be their preference. They 'got' the fact that even secular organisations have to abide by these restrictions - it's not just a Christian event 'thing'. So thankyou for your gracious and Godly acceptance - I hope you were blessed greatly during your time with us
Over the last couple of weeks, it has been interesting to see the breadth of comments, attitudes and actions about all forms of disability within the Christian community.
I wrote a lot of Facebook comments and tweets about some of them, but deleted many of them - the negative way in which I had written them was not helpful. Thankyou to those who gave their support and showed their love on those status updates and responded to those who were condemning Christians for their lack of thought. As you can see from my comments above - there were more people to thank than growl at!
I will be writing some posts on the comments and actions I either had or observed. These posts will NOT be a reflection on Spring Harvest - they have loved and supported me through all the naff comments and actions. What I want to do is shine a light on these thoughts and misconceptions in the area of disability and additional needs. I want to help those nervous of saying the wrong thing, and educate those who just don't get it. We would like everyone to be as caring and sensitive as I know Spring Harvest is.
But for now - this post is for thanking God, the Spring Harvest head office team, and the huge army of volunteers who worked with us.