Throughout the LCMS, exciting progress is being made in Disability Ministry! For the past several years, the LCMS Disability Task Force has been focused on efforts in supporting, equipping and developing congregations to be more inclusive of people living with disabilities in our local communities.
As LCMS districts meet in their conventions currently and over the coming months, nearly a dozen are considering resolutions to establish or continue Disability Ministry Task Force groups or Disability Ministry Coordinators. Encouragement and prayers go out to in Indiana, North Wisconsin, South Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan, New England, and Missouri—these districts are joining those already in progress or hard at work in the Pacific Southwest, Minnesota South, Northwest, and California-Nevada-Hawaii districts. We enthusiastically support their efforts and encourage you to do so as well!
In our work of serving those with disabilities, we often consider 1 Corinthians 12. Here the whole body of Christ clearly casts vision for ALL people to bring their gifts, skills, talents and lessons together. No one is left out of that design. All contribute and have intrinsic value and a significant role to play. Whether someone brings an obvious disability in the form of blindness, deafness, mental illness, intellectual or developmental disability, PTSD and physical disability as a veteran, age related disability or invisible disability, all are needed for the body of Christ to be complete.
But the data is clear: people living with disabilities are currently marginalized in the life of the church.
There is no difference between those with disabilities and those without when it comes to the desire to be connected and to contribute to congregational life. There is a significant gap in the number of people who have meaningful participation in faith communities. These initiatives across the Synod will help close that gap. The LCMS Disability Task Force stands ready to encourage, equip, assist and support.
If you know of other areas where great work in disability outreach is being accomplished, please let us know! For more information, resources and articles visit our web page lcms.org/socialissues/disability.