The gospels beautifully portray Jesus' leadership in building faith communities. He recruited a group of disciples and began taking them to populations of people outside of the church, their neighborhoods and even the city walls. These outsider populations were diseased, racially separated and folks with a wide array of disabilities who left home or were sent out to honor societal law. But Jesus with his disciples declared it a new day! He physically took his disciples to the places where the outcast were and modeled to his disciples how to talk, care and value these folks in a new way. Jesus even began preaching a new gospel of inclusion with the Sermon on the Mount in which he blesses people in spite of their inadequacies and not because of their virtue.
No less is expected of our faith communities 2,000 years later. We are inspired by individuals, families and church communities who lead us in the care of our friends with disability. And we recognize that scripture screams to us all a call to learn about our God through lament, vulnerability and celebration with these friends.
The purpose of this showcase is to help us as individuals, families and faith communities be bridges of holistic care to our friends and families with disability in order that we can step into life together and experience God and his attributes in new ways.
Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality (Brazos Press, 2008)
by Thomas E. Reynolds
Adam: God's Beloved (Orbis Books, 1997)
by Henri JM Nouwen
Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness (InterVarsity Press, 2008)
by Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier
Helping Kids Include Kids with Disability (Faith Alive, 2001)
by Barbara Newman
Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities (Paul H Brooks Publishing, 2007)
by Erik Carter
A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House, 2011)
by Amy Julia Becker
Wrestling with an Angel: A Story of Love, Disability and the Lessons of Grace (Cruciform Press, 2010)
by Greg Lucas
Disability & the Gospel (Crossway, 2012)
by Michael S Beates
Just the Way I Am: God's Good Design in Disability (Christian Focus, 2012)
by Krista Horning
Immeasurable More: More Hope, More Joy: Embracing Life with Down Syndrome (Credo House Publishers, 2012)
by Linda Alderink
Autism and Your Church: Nurturing the Spiritual Growth of People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2011)
by Barbara J Newman
Handbook for Worship
PDF available online. Hardcopy available at Calvin College Bookstore
The Treasure in Clay Jars: Preaching Ideas on Disability
by Linda Jean H Larson
We Need Every Part of the Body: Including People with Disabilities
by Joan Cornelison
Inclusive Communion - Accommodating Worshiper's Unique Needs
by Mark Stephenson
by Amy Julia Becker
Through the Worship Renewal Grants program, several worshiping communities have received funds to explore the topic of worship and disabilities.
Christian Learning Center
To explore ways to make worship accessible for children and adults with disabilities and to recognize and encourage the participation and leadership of those with special needs and gifts through a partnership with eight to ten congregations.
Fellowship Christian Reformed Church
To study and evaluate past worship practices and create new liturgies that practice inclusivity, collaboration, creativity, and social justice and that encourage the gifts of musicians, artists, dancers, children, writers, and persons with disabilities.
Being Whole Community at Stony Point Center
To train worship leaders in opening worship to the leadership gifts of persons with disabilities through a conference and a year long process of learning with several congregations.
Bobby Dodd Institute
To develop a process that brings together clergy and people with disabilities to create a model of inclusive worship in six area congregations.
To prepare ten congregations from a wide range of Christian traditions to include persons with physical and mental disabilities through seminars, training and consultation with clergy and lay leaders, and to assist them in developing a congregational plan for the intentional inclusion of these persons in worship, fellowship, education, service and justice activities.