Trailblazer or Trailing Behind?

Trailblazer or Trailing Behind?

Trailblazer or Trailing Behind?

Scope Commissioned Report Shows that it’s Time for Churches to Address Disability Rights at Work

by Mark Bainbridge Solicitor at didlaw Ltd

The findings of an Opinium survey commissioned by Scope show that a person with a disability needs to apply for 60 per cent more jobs than a non-disabled job applicant before they are successful Follow this link to read the survey

The Government was criticised by the United Nations recently for failing to uphold the rights of disabled people through a succession of austerity policies that have impacted access to areas such as healthcare, education, and work. The report from the UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, together with the Scope-commissioned survey, show the UK – once regarded as a global trail blazer in disability rights – now sadly trailing far behind.

Disability rights apply to all stages of employment, including recruitment, but mistaken assumptions about different disabilities and the capability of a person with a disability to undertake certain work, is leaving over a million disabled people in the UK unable to secure employment. For a developed nation such as ours, that is unacceptable. Disability discrimination in recruitment devastates lives, often exacerbating the effect of a disability, and deeply impairs self-esteem. Disability discrimination in recruitment also means that employers lose out on talented and skilled workers, and are left exposed to legal claims.

SCOPE have launched a campaign called “Work With Me”, to support more disabled people to get into and stay in work, follow this link to find out more about Work With Me. They’re rightly calling on employers, the Government and the public generally to tackle this issue. If you’re reading this blog, please sign up to support their campaign.

Churches have an important role to play in tackling disability discrimination in all areas of life. Through the Roof can provide training and resources to help your church to become a Roofbreaker, providing training and resources to enabled disabled people to be involved in church life and grow closer to Jesus.

Mark Bainbridge, a Christian lawyer who works for specialist disability rights firm didlaw Ltd, can be contacted for a free initial chat about disability rights.

For more information, please contact:
Tim Wood on 01372 749955 or by following this link to email Tim;
Mark Bainbridge at didlaw Ltd follow this link for more about Mark on 020 7099 7508, or by following this link to email Mark.

After the Thank You – What Next? (Ros' Blog)

After the Thank You – What Next? (Ros' Blog)

Well. We’ve had our thanksgiving service, a memorable and uplifting occasion. You can see some photos of it on our Facebook page, and it was great to see so many of our supporters there. So, what happens next? To answer this question, I’ve been taking a look at some famous “thanksgivings” in the Bible, to see what followed them.

One of the earliest recorded instances of giving thanks is Noah, after his ark came to rest, the waters receded and he released all the animals. Then he built an altar and expressed his thanks to God for deliverance. What happened next? God responded with a promise for the future:

“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8. 22)

In Exodus 15 God has just brought the Israelites through the Red Sea in a miraculous deliverance from their pursuers, and Moses has led the people in a prayer of thanks, followed by Miriam leading a song and dance of thanksgiving with her timbrel. And in the next paragraph we read of God performing a miracle, turning brackish, stagnant water into pure, clean drinking water.

There are many occasions when David is recorded as giving thanks to God, such as the one found in 1 Chronicles 16. Overcome by gratitude for God’s goodness, David erupts into a hymn of thanksgiving:

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!”

And so on, in the same vein, for another twenty-five verses. After this outburst of grateful praise God comes back to him with a great promise for his future – that Israel will enjoy a time of peace and prosperity, its enemies will be subdued, and never, in the future of the world, will there fail to be one of David’s descendants on the throne – a promise fulfilled in the eternal reign of Jesus, the greatest son of David.

Solomon, at least in the beginning of his reign, follows in his father’s footsteps. He builds the temple his father had longed to see, and dedicates it with a prayer of petition and thanksgiving. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David…” God’s response is a spectacular one of fire falling from heaven and God’s glory filling the temple, and leads to the entire population falling down in worship and thanksgiving before Him.

This idea, that we can never out-give God, that whatever thanks we render to Him, He will always outdo us in blessings, is continued in the life of Daniel. Daniel is given insight into Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Overwhelmed with thankfulness he exclaims:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His….
I thank You and praise You,
O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and might,
And have now made known to me what we asked of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s demand.” (Daniel 2. 20-23)

There are two consequences that follow on from this; firstly, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges God as the true God of heaven and earth, and secondly, God responds to Daniel’s faithful, thankful heart with a promotion in the king’s court for him and his three closest friends.

One of the great Old Testament prayers of thanksgiving comes from Hannah, after God has answered her prayers for a son. She breaks out into a spontaneous song of praise which begins,

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.” (1 Samuel 2)

The result of Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving? After decades of silence from God (or perhaps, more accurately, of hardness of hearing on the part of God’s people) the young Samuel hears God calling him and responds in obedience. The words he hears and passes on mark a sea-change in the direction of the nation and the start of Samuel’s prophetic ministry.

In Matthew 1 we read of Elizabeth and Mary together giving voice to their thanks in spontaneous songs of praise, immediately prior to the fulfilment of God’s promises in the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus the Messiah.
In Luke 17 there is the story of ten lepers being healed. All are healed, but only one returns to give thanks. And his thanksgiving results in Jesus pronouncing that, as a result of his faith, not only is he cured, but he is made whole – a healing that encompasses all that he is, not merely the deformities of his limbs.

Perhaps the most remarkable, indeed, astonishing thank you in the Bible occurs in Luke 22.19. Jesus, fully aware that his body is about to be torn apart by a Roman scourge and nailed to a cross, takes bread, gives thanks and breaks it, and gives it to His disciples, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” It’s hard to imagine the courage, the faith and the love that could give thanks at that moment for the sacrifice He is about to make. And we know the outcome of that – salvation for the world and Jesus’ own exaltation to glory.

In Acts 3 we find Peter and John on their way to the temple, coming across a beggar who has been unable to walk for the whole of his life, and in Jesus’ name they heal him of his disability. The man is so overcome with joy that he enters the temple walking, leaping and praising God for this amazing miracle that he has received. A great revival meeting ensues, in which three thousand people give themselves to following Jesus, and the church is born. Yet hard on its heels follow imprisonment, beatings and persecution, along with miraculous deliverance.

So here at Through the Roof we have given our thanks to God, and we really are overwhelmed with gratitude as we look back over all He has done on our behalf over the past twenty years. What can we expect next?

On the basis of God’s response to His people’s thanksgiving throughout the Bible, I can confidently predict that we can expect blessings, miracles, more promises given and fulfilled, to hear more from God, more people saved, more obstacles overcome – and also more hardships, more opposition, more obstacles still to be overcome. The one thing we do know is that God will be faithful and will continue to bless the work of our hands, bring people to Himself, supply us with the wheelchairs, the funds and the people we need to carry on the work and, though difficulties may come, to give us all the resources we need to push through. We can say this with confidence because we now have 20 years behind us of proving God’s faithfulness and we know beyond doubt that He is to be relied on – and so we can continue to give thanks, even for the blessings we haven’t yet seen. As the old hymn says,

“How good is the God we adore!
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend;
His love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end.

It’s Jesus, the first and the last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home.
We’ll praise Him for all that is past,
And we’ll trust Him for all that’s to come.”

Apply for a Holiday

We have one holiday planned for 2024 at the moment: the Calvert Trust Exmoor holiday from the 24th to 28th June 2024. Please follow this link to find out more.

For details on future holidays or retreats, please email Jan or telephone the office on 01372 749955.

Please DO NOT SEND MONEY until you receive an invoice.
Places are limited on all our breaks. Early application is advised.

Help on a Holiday

We have one holiday planned for 2024 at the moment, the Calvert Trust Exmoor holiday from the 24th to 28th June 2024. Please follow this link to find out more.

If you have a heart to serve and would be willing to join our team of volunteers, please please follow this link to email or phone Jan on 01372 749955 for further details.

Start a DCF Group

We're always looking for people with a heart to serve disabled people who could start a new group, or volunteer to work with an established one. If you're interested in exploring the idea, please get in touch with the office for a chat - either follow this link to email us, or call on 01372 749955.

About Groups

Disabled Christians Fellowship groups throughout Britain provide fellowship, support and an opportunity for service for those with a disability, as well as helping to integrate those with a disability into church life. Some are closely associated with a local church, but all are inter-denominational, serving disabled Christians from a variety of local churches.

Groups bring people together from the local community regularly, creating a bond of friendship and fellowship. Typically, a group meeting would contain worship, a Christian message, prayer and, of course, a chat and some refreshments. Helpers are gathered from local churches, and Groups can usually provide transport to and from the meeting when required. The groups reach out into the community, educating churches about disability and access issues and are a positive way of serving disabled people and integrating them into church life.

Prayer Support

Prayer Support

If you would like prayer, or to pray for others, we have a weekly prayer email and opportunity to connect with online prayers led by one of our Roofbreakers…

Prayer Email

Once a week, we send out an email containing prayer requests for the work of Through the Roof, as well as requests submitted by friends and supporters of the charity. If you'd like something included on the email, please follow this link to email us, and let us know what you'd like mentioned.

If you'd like to sign up to receive the email, then please follow this link.

Online Prayers

Lynda sits in her wheelchair in front of a stone church wall. To her left, there's a large wooden cross and a few candles in a floorstanding candle holder.We are delighted that one of our Roofbreakers, Lynda (pictured), is posting regular day- and night-time online prayers. These are available for anyone who would like to connect with them and we trust they will be a real source of encouragement.

Lynda’s prayers are known as ‘Prayer4all’ and can be found on YouTube through the following link:

Hearts in Transformation

A six-part Bible study exploring Biblical encouragement for those living with disability. The session look at identity, service, and ways to live. It is our hope that your time in God’s word through this study will not only impact your life as you live with your own or your child’s disability, but will equip you to minister to others you meet who are working through similar circumstances.



Individual Pastoral Support

Individual Pastoral Support

Are you a disabled person struggling during this time of uncertainty and in need of someone to listen? Perhaps you have lost a friend or are anxious and would like someone to talk to? We are delighted that two Christian Pastors, with counselling skills, and experience of living with disability, have kindly offered a listening ear through telephone support to the TTR family. Places are limited, but if you would like to speak to someone, please call the office on 01372 749955 or email us by following this link, and we’ll put you in touch with Alex and Anne.

(Photo shows Anne speaking at our Edinburgh Disability Inclusion in our Churches event on 29th Feb)