Now that I'm done with my commitment to the ADA walk planning committee, I'm excited to be diving head-long into our church's new Disability Ministry. Denis and I are both on the leadership team and we're just starting the process of getting it off the ground.
This is how it started - our pastor's wife and daughter have attended the Northern California Joni and Friends family camp as helpers for the last few years. Their participation has been a particular passion of the daughter. This summer, our pastor attended for the first time and he came back home fired up. What he learned at Joni and Friends camp is about the sad statistics of families who have a member with a disability. The divorce rate is high, church attendance is low - it is a very isolating situation for families. It is difficult to even get out the door to church, and when families do make it, they might not feel welcomed by the church once they get there.
Our goal with a Joni and Friends affiliated ministry is to be "Fully Accessible" not just in our building having wide enough doors, but also in our congregation to have wide enough hearts. The goal is not just to welcome people with disabilities to attend, but to participate in ministry. This is NO SMALL TASK and we are just getting started.
I'm so excited to be a part of a purposeful ministry that will take me out of my comfort zone and allow me to see God at work. In the past, I've participated in short term missions, but I have come to the realization that I'm not likely to be able to do that any more. If you happen to think of praying for our ministry, current requests would be a solution to a sticky problem of not having a wheelchair accessible bathroom, an upcoming training day for ushers, greeters and volunteers and planning our kick-off event in February.
2 days ago