A Moment for Mission
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find;
knock, and the door will be opened for you. — Luke 11:19 NRSV
When we say Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors in The United Methodist Church, it is a call to radical hospitality that sometimes we do mean literally. We need open doors — doors that are accessible to all who may want to enter them. In order to live out our call to be fully inclusive, our churches may need to consider what it takes for all people, particularly those who live with disability, to get inside the doors. We may need to spend time being mindful about what it is like for someone with a special need or adaptive equipment to move about in the hallways and participate in all of the different areas of the church. For some it may take a special ramp or an alternate worship experience. We recognize that our differently abled members may have different needs, but also have a unique gift to share in the body of Christ.
One Sunday each year, The United Methodist Church observes Disability Awareness Sunday. This Sunday reminds us that our brothers and sisters who live with disabilities are called to share together with us as full members of God's family. We are reminded that not only do we need to continue to think about the accessibility of our buildings and activities; we also need to be lifting up the gifts of those among us who live with disabilities.
Creator of All Life, we ask that you open our hearts to swing wide open our doors that we may see the beauty of all your children living together in the family of God. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Tenth Sunday After Pentecost - Gracious God, we thank you for the wonderful gift of new life in Christ! You transformed the cross of your beloved Son to bring the end of death forever. We are glad to be part of the body of Christ, the church, where your Spirit helps us to grow more like Christ in faith, hope, and love. Use our gifts and offerings to reach out to people in our community who need your good news. We pray in your holy name. Amen. (Colossians 2:6-19)
It was not until the late 1970s that children with disabilities were included in the public school system in the United States. While we have made some progress in accessibility of our public spaces, there is still work to be done. The United Methodist Church recognizes that people living with disabilities are fully human and full members of God's family whom we need to be intentional in seeking to fully include in all aspects of church life. One way we have decided to keep this work of inclusion in front of us is to set aside one Sunday each year to observe Disability Awareness Sunday.
The Disability Ministries Committee of The United Methodist Church works year round to advocate for our members living with disabilities. This committee also does the work of developing resources for churches to assist them in better meeting the needs of all of our members. If you would like to support their work, you can give to The United Methodist Church Disability Ministries Committee Special Advance.
*Please reference you local conference calendar for your specific date.