The Discipline, the book of procedure and legislation of the United Methodist Church, states that the church is to be inclusive, and that it should enable every person to participate in its life (¶ 139). It further states that all persons with “mental, physical, developmental, neurological, and psychological conditions or disabilities” are fully human and full members of God’s family, with a rightful place in church and society. In recognition of this status, the church is to be in ministry with all people who have any special need, and to enable their full participation in its activities. The church is also to be an advocate for equality (¶ 162, emphasis added).
To recognize and affirm these statements, a Disability Awareness Sunday is to be observed annually. The date is determined by each Annual Conference. An offering may be received for disability ministries if the conference chooses to do so (¶ 265).
Conference Disability Ministries webpage: www.epaumc.org/ministry/disability
UMC Disability Awareness Sunday resources webpage: www.umdisabilityministries.org/dasunday
If churches want to receive and designate an offering on Disability Awareness Sunday, they can give it to UMCOR’s “Disability Ministries” Advance Special # 3021054, which provides “resources and funding to develop ministries that include and empower persons with disabilities and their families.”
Pastors and lay leaders may contact Disability Ministries Committee members in their districts to offer disability awareness promotion ideas. (See the list on the epaumc.org Disability Ministry webpage.) Or contact committee chairwoman Barbara Skarbowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-584-6170.