Last Chance for Enabling Church Tickets
The 'Enabling Church: Everybody In!' conference is being held on 3rd June 2014 in West Bromwich. It's going to be an exciting and informative day, inspiring churches and congregations to become more inclusive. Every church needs to become an ‘enabling church’ that welcomes, includes and involves people with dementia, disability, deafness, their families and those that care for them. The programme involves a majority of speakers with direct experience of a range of disabilities, either for themselves or with close family members.
3rd June 2014: 10:00am to 4:30pm (Doors open 9:15am)
Bethel Convention Centre, Kelvin Way, West Bromwich, B70 7JW
Follow this link to visit the Enabling Church Website where you can find out more about the day, and book your tickets.
A full report will be coming soon!
(Photo shows Roy McCloughry speaking at an earlier Enabling Church conference)
Who are the Disabled Ones? (Ros' Blog)
The day my second child was born, my world changed forever. She was thirteen weeks premature and the doctors had been warning me to expect her to be stillborn. Even if she was alive, they said, she wouldn’t cry, as her lungs would be too immature. Moments after she was born I heard her give a fairly powerful cry – it was, and remains, the most wonderful sound I’ve ever heard in my life.
Now began her long, hard fight to hold on to life. It was more than ten weeks before the doctors could tell us that she would live, and at least two years before we could say with confidence that her life was no longer in danger.
From her birth onwards our world was turned upside down. I wrestled with God over what was happening, as I came to grips with a world of sleepless nights, emergency resuscitations, failure to thrive, physiotherapy and low, low educational expectations. Things that my other daughters received by right (such as appropriate education) had to be fought for tooth and nail. Again and again Ellen defied the prognosis and achieved things we had been told were beyond her. For example, we were told she hadn’t the intelligence to learn any speech and now at the age of 30 she can not only hold a conversation (on her own terms!) but has a reading age of 8. Nonetheless, her learning disabilities are considerable, and as a result much about the world remains puzzling, confusing and frightening to her.
One thing I observed as she grew up was the simplicity and yet the undoubted reality of her faith in God. Her music therapist at school (not herself a committed Christian) remarked that Ellen was clearly developing her own faith and kept asking for songs about God’s love during their music therapy sessions – so she was becoming, in her own way, an evangelist, too! By her late teens she was clearly expressing in simple words her own faith in Jesus. We asked her if she would like to be baptised and she replied with a very enthusiastic “Yes!” So we found a couple of strong friends to carry her from her wheelchair to the baptistry and she was baptised at the age of 19.
This caused me to reflect on my own relationship with God. How often I needed my questions answered before I felt safe to trust Him; how I needed to be able to work out logical reasons for my faith along with my experience of God; how important it was to me to be able to explain exactly why I believed what I did. None of that was needed for Ellen. She constantly flung herself into the arms of her heavenly Father, certain that He was there and would hold her. She saw things that I, with all my theological study, could not see because my spiritual eyes were dim.
In 1 Corinthians 1.20, 25 and 27 Paul writes, “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?....For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength…. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
Amos Yong wrote these words: “If people with intellectual disabilities represent the foolishness of the world, what hinders our viewing them as embodying the wisdom of God?”
I suspect that when the world is wound up and all things are made new, and we begin to find out what things in our lives were of eternal value, and what things have passed away with the temporal world, we will have to revise our whole view of disability. We who thought we had the advantages in life – the strong, the clever, the ones the world regards as gifted – will find that on a spiritual level we have been severely disabled compared to our brothers and sisters who lacked those intellectual giftings, but whose spiritual life is marked by abilities and giftings we never knew they possessed. In that day they will be our teachers, leading us from the place of our spiritual impoverishment on the long road to catch up with where they already are in their deep understanding of, and relationship with, God.
(Photo of a series of wooden steps leading down to a scenic lake is from www.philippreiner.de)
Integr8 in Kenya 2014
A four-person team from Integr8 took part in a trip to Kenya in May 2014, delivering training to over 400 local officials and churches. Due to our recent website problems, we weren't able to post up their daily blog posts, so here's the whole story of their extremely successful trip, all together in one post.
The team woke up early ready to go and serve. We travelled to the University of Egerton in Njoro. This was a very impressive facility which has over 40 acres of land and is one of Kenya’s leading universities with many different faculties. We were giving training in the Ace Hotel which is the university hotel and we had a conference room. There were 23 counsellors from all over Kenya, some counsellors had travelled for over two days to get to the training and representatives from the whole country were there. It was the senior counsellors from the counselling services around Kenya. The head of the countries counselling services from Nairobi was there and had arranged accommodation and food for all the counsellors in the Hotel. It was a great privilege to talk to them. They were very knowledgeable and we had a great time sharing about disability in the Bible, personal testimonies, communication and language. The team all spoke really well. The feedback was very positive and the team were really pleased with what was achieved.
We then went to Nakuru for lunch and to change money and do some jobs. We returned back to the hotel for debrief, amazing prayer and dinner. We loved being able to skype with Tim and Sarah who were praying for us back in the officeJ
After the success of yesterday the team were excited about training again today. We travelled to Molo which is the equivalent of a county – so the offices for a large area where we met with 35 District department heads. Every area of the county district was represented from policing, to education, to human resources to social work. When we arrived we were told they were expecting a session on work place counselling…. We quickly re grouped and changed our topics to involve the work place and making sure their work place was inclusive. There were approx 45 officials. The team did very well by giving their training eloquently and challenging perceptions on disabled people in the workplace.
After the training we met with the Disability department head and shared experiences with him. We then returned to the hotel in enough time to debrief over a drink and a walk before prayer, dinner, chatting, laughing, fellowship and fun.
Everyone is having a great time and encountering the living true Jesus which is the most important… There is a powerful feeling of the presence of God with us.
Praying for the golf day happening back in UK.
The team awoke early and travelled not very far to Njoro. Here the team trained 111district administrators and church leaders. We had a wonderful time with these people who were hungry to learn more. They were particularly interested in Abigail’s testimony and Lucia’s case studies which made them think. By now we are getting used to the long protocols and speeches at the beginning and end of the training which seemed to cut training by half. This group were particularly interested and seemed to have never been introduced to the topic previously.
We really enjoyed training in Njoro. In the afternoon we returned early enough for some of the team to have a walk and a rest before prayer time. We were then invited to Pastor Davis’s house for dinner. This was wonderful- we ate amazing yummy food including local delicacies and quail eggs… It was great to spend time with his family and relax.
We woke at a very early 5.30 but very excited as this was the morning we were visiting Lake Nakuru National Park which is a local game park. The team loved seeing the animals, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine and fellowship. We had a wonderful time. We saw flamingos, baboons, monkeys, giraffes, rhinos, wilderbeast etc,etc.
We had lunch in Nakuru and then there was some time for gift shopping. We returned to hotel where we rested and then had a long evening of prayer for one another. It was a great day of relaxation and fellowship.
The team had a much needed lie in before going to church at the Hope for Glory Center. It was a great, with lots of singing, dancing and prayer. Abigail danced and sang for the church and Lucia sang. Reninca prayed and presented Bibles from the UK and Sarah preached Gods word.
The service was very lively however lasted nearly five hours. After the service we stayed after to meet with the church leaders and encourage them. Reninca shared about the Bible and disability to help support Pastor Davis in his work on disability.
After we went to meet another Pastor and his wife and encourage them as they work in the countryside
The team were very tired and after dinner had an early night.
The team met early as had to travel to Keringet which was 1 ½ hours away. When we arrived there was a bit of confusion and we waited outside while they got the hall ready. We only had one and a half hours to present so shortened our presentations and spoke to them about the main crux of our message. There was one man from a disabled people organisation who spoke at length at the difficulties he was facing. The team felt very happy with the training as had to depend more on the Holy Spirit and the feedback was positive. In the afternoon we travelled two and a half hours down a very bumpy road to go and visit a group of disabled adults. It was wonderful to meet with them.
We then returned back to the hotel and had a great dinner
This was our last day of training and we woke up sad about that we travelled for two hours to a place called Kabatec. We were greeted by the District Offical he was extremely welcoming and honouring. This group were particularly interested. However to local problems we were only able to give an hour of training. Remarkably we managed to bring all our key points into under an hour and the feedback we received was very positive.
We returned back to Nakuru where we found from Pastor Davis that he had missed an important interview for a job that morning to take us to the training. However due to us finishing earlier he went to the university to see if he they would be able to interview him late. Praise God he was interviewed and given favour despite being late.
We returned back to the hotel for a final dinner where Pastor Davis and his wife presented us with scraves.
We woke up late, packed and had breakfast. We then went to the Hope of Glory center to meet with some of the children, parents and women who use the centre. We returned for lunch before getting the bus to the airport. Whilst in the bus the team were dreaming of what they would like to eat for tea which included a cheese and tomato sandwich, cake and ice cream. When we arrived at the airport the one café open sold all these things.
The team had a very blessed flight with lots of room so they could spread out. Changed flights in Brussels and returned home. It was amazing.
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