Celebrate Disability Awareness Sunday

The Eastern PA Conference’s Disability Ministries Committee urges churches to celebrate Disability Awareness Sunday Jan. 22 (or on a more convenient date). The UMC’s Book of Discipline calls for every conference and church to celebrate this special occasion annually to increase response to the need for including more disabled persons in the life of our churches.

The committee invites churches that observe Disability Awareness Sunday to receive a special offering for UMCOR’s “Disability Ministries” Advance Special (# 3021054). You can find information and  resources online at  www.umdisabilityministries.org/dasunday. Also visit the  committee’s webpage for more information.

DisabilityAwarenessSundaySignjpg

Pastors and lay leaders may contact Disability Ministries Committee members in their districts to get disability awareness promotion ideas. (See the list on the epaumc.org Disability Ministry webpage.) Or contact committee chairwoman Barbara Skarbowski at bskarbowski@gmail.com or 717-584-6170.

Also, see if your church can qualify for a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Disability Ministry or for the new “Bishop Peggy Johnson 4A’s Award for Disability Ministry.” The conference Disability Ministry Committee established that award to give recognition to one “Congregation of the Year” and one “District of the Year”  that have made great strides toward being in inclusive ministry with persons and families who experience disability.

DisabilityAwarenessBulletinBoardAdditionally, all conference churches are eligible to receive a  Certificate of Excellence  in outstanding disability ministry after meeting certain criteria. Learn more…

“Disability crosses all lines of race, ethnicity, gender, class, etc.,” writes Bishop Peggy Johnson in her new Bishop’s Blog essay, titled “Privilege.” “Sadly, however, many of our churches are ill-prepared to receive people with disabilities. Not only are they unable to receive them physically, with accessible buildings and services; but often church members have inaccessible “hearts” that fail to welcome disabled visitors. It is even harder to find churches that engage in the greatest form of accessibility of all: empowerment.”

Be sure to read Bishop Johnson’s entire essay that addresses similar barriers and burdens of race and disability in our society and in many of our churches.