Disability Ministries will be an active part of each local church’s ministry. Local churches will recognize that Jesus, Himself, set the example of Disability Ministry in His earthly ministry. Realizing that more than 20% of the population are people with disabilities, will be a motivating factor for these churches.
The Conference Disability Ministry team sees its mission as making a difference in the world as disciples of Jesus Christ reaching out and ministering to people with disabilities. We believe that our Mission holds with the Annual Conference’s priorities of Leadership for 21st Century and of Empowering a New Generation of believers.
Any church who wishes to be awarded Bridge Builder Status prior to the 2012 Annual Conference meeting, must send in an application to Deb Wade prior to May 1st. Email your District Director of Disability Ministries and ask for an application form to be sent to you.
The North Alabama Annual Conference 2011 passed, by Consent Agenda, that starting at the 2012 Annual Conference a Bridge Builder District Award would be presented, annually, on the floor of Annual Conference, to the District Superintendent whose district had the largest number of Bridge Builder churches; reported the most annual Disability Awareness Sundays; completed the most Accessibility Audits; and, was most receptive to promoting disability awareness in his/her district.
I am thrilled to inform you that we now have a full team representing each district in our conference. Anyone who feels a special call to work in the area of disability ministries may feel free to send your district director a message stating how you would be willing to help us. I assure you, we can definitely use all those willing to aid in this vital area of mission, justice ministry and evangelism – Disability Ministries! We would especially like to know if anyone with disabilities would like to be part of this ministry.
Don’t forget to send requests to be recognized as a “Bridge Builder” Church or for accessibility grants (from R.A.M.P.) to your District Director of Disability Ministries. - Deb Wade.
Deb Wade - 62 Black Rd., Somerville, AL 35670; (256)778-7783; firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference Spiritual Guide
Celia Vest - 62 Black Rd., Somerville, AL 35670; (256)778-7633; email@example.com
Central District (Co-Chairs)
JoAnne Minnitt - 16276 AL Hwy 91, Hanceville, AL 35077; (256)352-4401; firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlene Johnson - 13455 AL Hwy 91, Hanceville, AL 35077; (256)287-0959
Joyce French - 25 Timothy Trace, Anniston, AL 36207; (256)237-4082; email@example.com
Mountain Lakes District
Rev. Diane Housler - 415 N 32nd ST, Gadsden, AL 35904; (256)295-1365; firstname.lastname@example.org
Deb Wade - 962 Black Rd., Somerville, AL 35670; (256)778-7783; email@example.com
Northwest District (Temporarily)
Celia Vest - 962 Black Rd., Somerville, AL 35670; (256)778-7633; firstname.lastname@example.org
South Central District
Jennifer McCroskey - 3556 Spring Valley Court, Birmingham, AL 35223; (205)298-7706; email@example.com
Rev. Mike Samuels - 726 S. Lafayette ST., Lafayette AL 36862; (334)864-9478; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Wade Langer - 2130 Paul W. Bryant Drive, Suite B, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401; (205)752-0414; email@example.com
Trinity Friends was organized about four years ago. Mr. Sam Sullins was the first director. The current director, Mrs. Judy Gattis, describes Trinity Friends as “a worthwhile, viable ministry for our church (Trinity UMC Huntsville, Alabama).”
Each month individual groups from Trinity host an evening out for adults with a developmental disabilities. One month a Sunday School class might be the sponsor; another month, it might be one of the United Methodist Women’s Circles; and, yet another month, might find the Trinity Youth sponsoring a night of fun – regardless of who sponsors the month’s event, a great time is enjoyed by all.
Trinity Friends, as these beautiful adults are called, come from area group homes as well as private homes. At each month’s event a meal is served and entertainment provided. Examples of entertainment include bingo, dancing, puppetry, contemporary Christian music or the annual Christmas Party. Average monthly attendance is around one hundred friends and their caregivers.
For the Christmas Party in December, Aldersgate United Methodist Church joined Trinity to sponsor a dinner; visit from Santa; and plenty of fun and gifts to take home. Mrs. Gattis says that these adults “live for the moment” when they can have a turn to sit on Santa’s lap. 74 Friends attended the 2011 Christmas Party.
Judy Gattis says, “They enjoy anything and everything planned, especially dancing on nights when musical entertainment is scheduled.” The adults ministered to through this exciting program are not the only ones blessed. Each church group that sponsors a monthly event for the Trinity Friends is also blessed, in return, by these wonderful people who have truly become friends to the church.
Any church with an active Disability Ministries can send their information to their District Director of Disability Ministries. We will then contact you for more information for an article and for pictures. Our next newsletter will be the March/April edition. Information for the March/April edition should be sent to the appropriate District Director no later than March 10, 2012.
Anyone from any district is welcome to attend if you send in your R.S.V.P. to Deb Wade by March 1, 2012. Any pastor attending from another district will also receive credit to fulfill the Disciplinary requirement of training in this area. Certificates will be sent to the District Offices of each pastor in attendance and participating. Please note that the booklets will only be available for churches in the Northeast District. If you would like to attend and want a copy, you will need to let Deb Wade know by February 20th. This will give her time to run off copies and bind a book for you. The cost for those outside the NE District to receive a booklet will be $12 each. You may also choose to wait until the day of the workshop to receive information on how to obtain the material free via email.
In the next 12 to 15 months, we hope to do as Bishop Willimon encouraged us to do and hold similar workshops in each district. At each of these workshops, Local Church Chairs of Disability Ministries are encouraged to attend as well as all pastors who wish to fulfill the Disciplinary requirement for training in this area. At each district workshop, pastors attending and participating will have special certificates sent to their district offices to become part of their files.
Information on “Disability Ministries Role in the Church” Workshop: Click here to download Flyer
This workshop is an important part of your church’s evangelism ministry. I have found that churches that place an emphasis on being accessible to persons with physical limitations are often churches that are more effective at reaching all people in their community. Churches that want their physical plant to be wheel-chair accessible are also those churches that care about how welcoming their facility looks to those who may be searching for a church home. Hospitality is at the heart of it all. If we want people to come to our church, we’ll make it easy for them to find their way in the door. Come and learn more about how your church can be better at reaching all God’s children as you work on being in ministry with persons with disabilities. –D.Cohen
The Rev. Dr. Eric Pridmore will provide training for two of the three hours. Eric is an Ordained Elder in the Miss. Conference and C0-Chair of the United Methodist Assoc. of Ministers with Disabilities. Eric serves on the Board of Directors for SEMAR and is an advisor with the United Methodist Task Force on Disability Ministries. Eric travels with his wife, Lisa, who is also a UM Minister and his guide-dog, Atlas. Eric will bless your heart as he provides much needed information for Pastors and Churches.
Each NE District Church will receive a booklet of useful information for Disability Ministries. Deb Wade, NAC Disability Ministries; UM Task Force on Disability Ministries; and, member of the Board of Directors for SEMAR will spend part of the time showing how churches can grow and find new focus for Evangelism in Disability Ministries.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (256)778-7783 and asking for Deb Wade by March 1, 2012.