Through the Roof is a Registered Charity number 1087788.
Through the Roof, Alpha House, Alpha Place, Garth Road, Morden, Surrey, SM4 4TQ
It is also a Registered Company 04201510.
20 Years of Changing Lives - The Winter 2017 Vital Link
The Winter 2017 Vital Link Newsletter is now available for download - this issue contains reports from our 20th anniversary celebration, our international work in Uganda and Mozambique, our holidays in 2018, fundraising stories, plus much more! It's bundled with a standing order donation form - please consider supporting the work of Through the Roof, and help to change the lives of disabled people in the UK and overseas.
- Follow this link to download the Winter 2017 Vital Link (including a standing order form) - right-click and select 'save' to save the file for later. It's a 1.5MB PDF.
Or click on the cover image below to read the Vital Link online using Joomag - you can zoom in and swap between pages much more easily that by just using a PDF reader.
#MeToo (Ros' Blog)
In the past few days a hashtag has been trending all over social media. People, mainly women but a few men as well, have been posting #MeToo. The intention behind this has been to highlight the extent of the problem of sexual harassment and abuse, how endemic and pervasive it is in our society.
Sadly, some politicians and celebrities have provoked outrage by joking about this, as if the trauma it brings were trivial, and many blogs have been written about the phenomenon of #MeToo. Some have applauded the women who have had the courage to add their names to the list. Others have expressed concern about those who might feel pressured to do so while emotionally recoiling from public exposure of something so personally painful. One prominent Christian blogger has suggested that, rather than putting this burden of disclosure on women, men should be posting their own #MeToo, admitting their complicity if not in perpetrating, then at least in enabling and turning a blind eye to such abuse.
This hashtag came to mind today as I was reading my way through a variety of articles on disability in the Bible. They ranged in tone from the trite – God’s will is for disability always to be cured, and there is something “wrong” with our faith if we don’t succeed in appropriating what God is offering us – to the deeply theological (John Hull’s masterly study “The broken body in a broken world” , in which he looks at the theology of the body – especially in the epistles of Paul – as a way of understanding the incarnation, and ourselves as the body of Christ with all our impairments and imperfections, a true representation of the ascended and glorified Christ who now stands at the Father’s right hand still bearing the wounds of His brokenness and sacrifice.)
Some were quite offensive – like the one which asked the question “Why did God allow disability?” and went on to explain that God created some people more needy than others so that we could feel pity for them, which it saw as a Christlike emotion. It showed absolutely no understanding of how it might feel to be portrayed as a needy recipient of pity, or whether this is, in fact how God created us to be seen and related to.
As I read all these various opinions, I started to wonder if perhaps we should have a #MeToo hashtag in the church. Yes, me too, I am weak, I am broken. I stand in need of God’s grace. I stand in need of you, just as you stand in need of me. The beauty of this hashtag would be that it would not divide the abled from the disabled into categories of “them” and “us” as some of the articles I have been reading seem to do. It would acknowledge that all of us are impaired in some way, that all of us erect barriers that impair others, and crucially, that all of us, with our limitations and our failures as well as our gifts and our grandeur, stand on a level footing. We truly are all in this together. We have all shared the same experience –of standing in need of redemption and meeting the Redeemer.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “The typical expression of opening friendship would be something like, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one!’” The wonder is that we find God proudly wearing the marks of His own brokenness, writing His own #MeToo, and so, as Lewis implies, we are enveloped in the divine friendship that recognises a kindred Spirit, and which encompasses us all and makes us all one in union with Him.
Could we, as the church, connect with some of the disability organisations in our towns, not in the guise of generous benefactors, but with an attitude of "we're all in the same boat"? Could we arrange our Christmas events and services in such a way that we can freely invite these organisations and their clients to join us, secure in the knowledge that we've done what we can to make these events accessible, and that we're inviting them in a spirit of #MeToo?
Wheelsblog Ghana 2017
The Wheels for the World team are hard at work in Ghana from the 1st to 11th November 2017. They'll be sending back video updates whenever the 3G signal and time allows. We'll get them up here, and on our Facebook page as quickly as we can.
Day 10 - Thank you!
On their final day, the team visit the children's home run by Ellen, our partner in Ghana, and find out all about the work she does to help street children around the capitol. They also want to send a special thank you to everyone who's followed along with the blog! Thank you to all of you for your support. They should be landing in the UK at about 5.30 am on Sunday. (There's no video from Day 9, in case anyone was missing it!)
Are you interested in taking part in an International Missions trip next year? Follow this link to find out all about what's available in 2018.
Day 8 - Last Day of Distribution
It's the last day of distribution, and the team have 30 wheelchairs to give out, as well as plenty of repairs to people's old wheelchairs. Over the course of the distribution, they saw 238 clients, gave out 128 wheelchairs, 50 pairs of crutches, and many more buggies, walkers, walking sticks, and plenty of advice and prayer. Each Wheels for the World trip changes hundreds of lives, but costs thousands of pounds. If you'd like to support this life-transforming work, please follow this link to donate online or call us on 01372 749955.
The team are heading home now - please pray for them on their journey. Thank you to everyone who's followed along, left encouraging comments, or prayed for the team in Ghana. Your support has been really valuable!
Day 7 - Olivia and Amer
Join the Wheels for the World time for another packed day distributing wheelchairs in Ghana. During Day 7 (Wednesday), they gave out 57 wheelchairs, and worked with many more people. Please keep praying for the team, as they keep serving people over the last few days of the trip. Do share any of the videos from this page - they're giving a great insight into how a Wheels trip works, and how lives are being transformed.
Day 6 - Hard Rain
The Day 6 report from the Wheels Ghana team is now up, and it focuses on a hard day, dealing with a lot of challenges - including sudden heavy rain, and some difficult decision about who gets a wheelchairs. Please pray for lots of energy and encouragement for the team - they've got two more days of wheelchair distribution to go.
Day 5 - The Pastor's Conference
As well as distributing wheelchairs, the Wheels for the World team have had a chance to speak at a Pastors' conference. The team report back from the day, where they gave some Biblical perspective on God's heart for disabled people, and brought a challenge to include and welcome disabled people into the church. Tomorrow, and for the next three days, they'll be fitting wheelchairs for around 100 people - please keep praying for them as they work.
Day 4 - Pray for Monday's Conference!
Here's day 4 of the Wheels for the World Ghana blog - the team attended a church service and spent time preparing to lead at a pastor's conference on Monday. They'll be getting to talk to over 200 pastors about God's heart for disabled people, and running workshops on inclusion and welcoming. Please pray for the team - Martyn explains more in this video.
Day 3 - Behind the Scenes of a Wheels Distribution
It's Day 3 - thank you for all your prayers! In this video, Rob shows us around what happens at a Wheels distribution, and we get to meet a few of the people who the team are helping, and see how your support is changing people#s lives.
Day 2 - Evening Update
Here's the videoblog from the end of the first full day of distribution. Rob talks to Emmanuel, a first time translator on a Wheels trip.
Day 2 - Morning Update
Day 1 - Arrived and Sorting
Here's the Day 1 evening report from the Wheels Ghana team. They've arrived, and leap straight from a long journey directly into sorting chairs and evaluating needs. Today they'll be heading off on their first day's distribution, and we'll have the report from that up tomorrow morning (all going to plan). In the meantime, please pray for wisdom, discernment and stamina for all the team!
Day 1 - Setting off!
20 years of TTR!
Happy Birthday! Through the Roof has been celebrating throughout 2017, and the peak was our gathering at St. George’s, Ashtead. Nearly 200 supporters of all ages and abilities joined together to give thanks to God for 20 years of the charity with a fully inclusive worship service.
Many attendees said the service had inspired them, and committed to head home and do more. Christine, a faithful volunteer over many years, told us, “I found it thrilling to be part of one of the most diverse church services I’ve been to. The service content was truly inspiring and I want to do more to support TTR.”
Leading the service were people with physical and sensory disabilities and parents of disabled children, and the centre-piece of the event was a life-size balloon structure depicting the through the roof story. Created by ‘Inspired Balloons’, it captured everyone’s imagination and featured in many photos on Facebook!
The order of service was available in large print and braille, and speech was signed into BSL by interpreters, all with the goal of welcoming as many people as possible. One Mum of a disabled person enthused, “My daughter really enjoyed it and felt at home because there were so many other people in wheelchairs.”
Pastor Davis, our partner in Kenya, sent his congratulations, “The charity has done an immensely great job in transforming the lives of many people with disabilities and their families in developing nations. Thank you for partnering with me in Kenya and making disabilities known and treated with dignity. Your staff and volunteers have always shown love, kindness and patience to my people. CONGRATULATIONS AND GOD BLESS ALL.”
Joni Eareckson-Tada recalled the small beginnings of Through the Roof in an affirming video message, and gave praise to God for everything that’s been achieved since those days. Jenny Edwards MBE read the ‘through the roof story’ in Mark chapter 2 from the Accessible Bible, and worship leader Thuy Mallalieu, who is himself blind, sensitively led the congregation in a time of praise and singing. Rev Jonathan Edwards preached, describing the love and determination of the men in bringing their paralysed friend to Jesus, and that one of them must have taken the lead in this enterprise. He challenged us to find 1000 Roofbreakers in 3 years, to enable disabled people to come to Jesus and be active participants in the life of the church – a big task!
We currently have over 110 Roofbreakers, who have all received a free starter kit, encouraging monthly email and are part of a growing network. Could you join this growing family and advocate for disabled people in your church? Please contact us to sign up, or follow this link to learn more.
Could you hold a celebration for Through the Roof in your own home? Follow this link, and we can provide you with a pack of everything you need to join us in celebrating 20 years of changing lives.