‘If you’ve ever felt rejected, excluded or a stranger Remember the One who came down in the manger.’
Links from around the world of youth work and social care:
Kay Morgan-Gurr who is a fantastic children’s evangelist, has written a brilliant article following on from the Archbishop of Canterbury hosting a cutting edge disability conference at Lambeth Palace on July 13th called ‘A Place to Belong‘:
The heart for change was alive and well, but for change to happen this heart also needs to be alive and well in those who were not at the conference. We need change where the rubber hits the road, and I’m worried that the outcomes of this will only reach the already convinced and not the people who really need to hear it. …
It’s often the case that many churches – though not all – think inclusion begins and ends with a ramp. Most will provide for those of us with wheels, but even then some do it badly. In their minds, they’ve already ticked the discrimination box.
Disability is diverse, in both the range of disabilities and the type of support needed. There may be practical inclusion adjustments in a church, but the attitude is poor. This is why many in the disability community use the term ‘belonging’. It’s much more than inclusion. To quote John Swinton, who was at the conference, ‘Belonging is being missed when you’re not there.’ Or in my own words, it’s being missed for who you are, not a sigh of relief because the disabled person hasn’t turned up.
People with disabilities have been sharing their partners’ actions that show them just how much they’re loved — actions that are “different from the way abled people show love.” Get the tissues at the ready, this is emotional.
Barbarin asked people with disabilities to share “some of the physical ways your partner makes you feel loved that are different from the way abled people show love.”
Twitter user @Shqueeebee wrote that when she was “first in the hospital” she wasn’t able to hold a pen to write her name on her medical consent forms. “I’m Greek and my armpit hair grew longer than I ever wanted so my sweet guy offered to shave them for me because I couldn’t,” wrote @Shqueeebee.
Twitter user @Jkcanaan, who uses a wheelchair, wrote that their partner pushes their chair “no matter how hot it is outside.”
“He always makes sure to give me the right number of pain pills for my headaches,” they wrote, adding that he also pops their joints back into place for them.
Disabilities activist @4WheelWorkOut — creator of
#disabledwomanism — tweeted that her partner touchers her “scars and stubs.” “I used to flinch bc scars and stubs. But that’s one way I knew he loved me,” she wrote.
Go check out the hashtag for more powerful writing.
Here are some links from around the world of children’s and youth ministry:
An Enabling Church conference from Churches for All
An event full of ideas & inspiration for all who work with or support children, youth & families plus anyone with a passion to see the abilities of everyone recognised.
Although primarily aimed at both volunteers and professionals working in children, youth and family ministries, those working in a more general pastoral capacity would also find the day to be helpful and inspiring.
Where: Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London
Cost: Early Bird Price £20, From 8th October £25.
Assistance: If you need assistance with booking or accessibility advice call 01372 749955 (Through the Roof)
Download: No Limits flyer (PDF)
Download: The Conference programme
This is a brilliant blog post by Phoebe on the challenges siblings of children with additional needs go through. Read and share this with others:
“She ruins everything!” I said to my mom when I was six and my big sister bumped into an art project I’d been working on all day.
And again when I was twelve and she wanted to hang out with me and my friends at my slumber party.
And again when I was seventeen and she snuck upstairs when I was watching a movie with a boyfriend.
Being fourteen months younger than my sister with Down syndrome wasn’t always easy. We were a grade apart in school, in a town where everyone knew everyone else. I was occasionally referred to as “Syble’s sister” instead of by my own name. When people made jokes about the kids on the short bus or “retards” I had to decide if I was going to stand up for my sister and bring more attention to myself or just let it go. And even at home, I tried to be perfect and low maintenance to make up for the extra work and attention my parents had to put into her.
And that’s why when I look into the eyes of my son David after he’s just said “He ruins everything!” referring to his brother with autism, I get it. I so get it. I get the frustration and the fear. I get the exhaustion and the embarrassment. I relive the moments I had at each stage I went through as a special-needs sibling. And it’s because of that experience I try to remember a few things.
Go read Phoebe’s blog for her advice on what she tries to do for her son, it includes:
16-year-old Hunter Gandee and his brother, Braden, walked 111 miles — from his hometown of Temperance, Michigan, to the steps of the state capitol. Hunter carried Braden almost all the way.
The feat was part of the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, an annual walk designed to raise awareness for the disorder. It’s been happening since 2014, when Hunter carried Braden for 40 miles. This trip took the pair five days. They left on April 20 and arrived April 25.
“Our goal is to get the attention of our up and coming leaders, doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs and show them the face of cerebral palsy,” reads the event’s Facebook page.
Organisers hope that increased attention on cerebral palsy will lead to increased focus and innovation when it comes to treating the condition.
This year, Hunter and his companions walked through numerous Michigan towns, stopping every few miles to rest and refuel. They finally arrived at Lansing’s capitol building on Monday evening.
Paul Smith was born in the 1920s with cerebral palsy, instead of allowing that to limit his life, he persevered. In a society which at that time didn’t support people with cerebral palsy at age 16, he learned to speak, and at 32 he learned to walk.
What’s even more amazing is the way he started to paint using an old typewriter:
[youtube id=”svzPm8lT36o” width=”580″ height=”337″]
A fashion mannequin has an implicit message: this form is beautiful. If your own body doesn’t look like that form—not even remotely—then you may not feel that way about yourself.
The Swiss charity Pro Infirmis helps people with disabilities. To remind them that they are beautiful, too, they commissioned mannequins modelled on the bodies of four people with disabilities. The video below shows the process. Craftsmen measured the bodies of the models, then reshaped mannequins to fit those specifications.
After finishing construction, Pro Infirmis placed those mannequins, now dressed in fashionable clothing, in a storefront in Zurich. Watch the responses of the models and passersby.
[youtube id=”E8umFV69fNg” width=”580″ height=”337″]