Resources for Disability Awareness Sunday
The United Methodist Church for many decades has called on its members and congregations to “celebrate the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and calls the church and society to full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community” (The United Methodist Book of Discipline ¶265. 4). The church’s legislating General Conference has mandated an annual Disabilities Sunday, the time to be determined by each annual conference, with permission to receive an offering to promote “architectural and attitudinal accessibility” in local churches (Ibid.).
Some congregations observe this day on December 3, the date the United Nations marks as International Day of Persons with Disabilities, while others designate Sundays scattered across the year. Promotion of and resources for Disabilities Awareness Sunday are the responsibility of the General Board of Global Ministries, which hosts the Disabilities Committee of The United Methodist Church (https://www.umdisabilityministries.org and https://www.facebook.com/UnitedMethodistCommitteeOnDisabilityMinistries).
The official United Methodist Resolution on “The Church and People with Intellectual, Physical, Psychological and/or Neurological Disabilities,” #3302 is found on pages 305–309 of the 2016 Book of Resolutions. It can also be found online at http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/church-and-people-with-intellectual-physical-psychological-disabilities.
The Disabilities Committee, working with the Global Health Unit of Global Ministries, proposes the theme of “Churches Providing Meaningful Employment for Persons with Disabilities” for local church observances of Disability Awareness Sunday across 2018.
Four stories on church-based work have been collected by Lynn Swedberg, a consultant with the Disability Ministries Committee of The United Methodist Church. These stories can be used collectively or individually in sermons, Sunday school lessons, or programs of men’s or women’s local church groups.
1. Eva’s Story
2. Travis’ Story
3. Pre-vocational Programs
4. Post-vocational Programs
5. Global Health 2017 Disability Resources