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.
As was mentioned at Annual Conference, Bishop Willimon has granted the North Alabama Conference Disability Ministries Team the authority to fulfill the DISCIPLINE’s requirement that each conference provide training in areas related to disability ministries to all pastors as well as laity involved in ministry to and with persons with disabilities. (See ¶630.1d) We mentioned that we would like to hold seminars (workshops) in each district between now and Annual Conference 2013 to meet this requirement. The training for this workshop will focus on “Disability Ministries Role in the Church.” Pastors may attend the seminar in their own districts or, if there is a time conflict, may attend a seminar in another district. Each pastor attending the entire seminar will earn a special certificate for his/her district file. District Directors of Disability Ministries have all been instructed to get with the individual District Superintendents as soon as possible and set up tentative dates for seminars for their districts.
Please remember that you must pre-register for this event by September 1st to Deb Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org or (256) 778-7783 BY SEPTEMBER 1st.
Disability Ministries Role in the Church Seminar - NE District, Sept. 15, 2012 - Download Flyer
Disability Ministries Role in the Church Seminar - NW District, Sept. 16, 2012 - Download Flyer
At this year’s Annual Conference, we awarded our first ever District Bridge Builder Award to the Northeast District and Rev. Dale Cohen, District Superintendent. Which district will be the 2013 recipient of the award??? The answer is that it could be any of our districts!!! We determine the winner based on several criteria, including: Number of Bridge Builder Churches in the District
Every District Superintendent should have either already heard from his/her District Director of Disability Ministries by now (or will in the next couple of weeks) to set up tentative dates for your district’s seminar. If you have any questions about the Accessibility Audit and why it is considered part of the Charge Conference forms, please email Deb Wade (email@example.com). I want to thank all of our District Superintendents and Bishop Willimon for your support which has allowed our North Alabama Conference to remain one of the conferences people in other areas of the United States look to for examples as to how to set up their own disability concerns programs!
We are excited to add an important new component to go hand-in-hand with our R.A.M.P. ministry. For those who may be new to our Conference, R.A.M.P. stands for “Reaching Accessibility for all Methodist People.” R.A.M.P. is a Conference Advance Special. Individuals and churches may donate money through this Advance Special (896 Fund – Special Disabilities Ministries Fund) to help make churches and homes accessible for persons with disabilities. These donations will not only be used to help churches and individuals but also counts towards the gifting church becoming a Bridge Builder Congregation!
Our Mission is simply to make the North Alabama Conference’s churches accessible – architecturally and attitudinally; to help people connected with our churches who need ramps in order to be able to get out of their homes to access the outside world, including a local church; or to make our message accessible via handouts, brochures, etc. that would be given to workshop or seminar participants or Annual Conference delegates. Examples of ways the money has been used in the past few years include: building ramps for individuals and churches; helping churches build accessible bathrooms; helping churches with costs of putting in either a chair lift or elevator. R.A.M.P. was created so that ALL of God’s Children might be able to get out of their homes and into their local Houses of God to worship Him.
Applications are accepted on a “first-come / first-serve” basis. Money is provided as long as funds are available and the application meets the following requirements:
How Local Church and Individuals Can Help
This is a new initiative to go along with our R.A.M.P. program (Reaching Accessibility for Methodist Persons). We are in need of people who will volunteer their expertise to be part of an “Accessible Habitat Team.” The number of times we are asked to provide ramps, accessible bathrooms, help with chair lifts, elevators, or anything to do with accessibility is not as great as we hope it will become. Churches who become Bridge Builder Churches can really help us by making donations to the special 896 Disability Ministries Fund. You may also give to our Conference Advance Special – R.A.M.P. – it is the same fund number 896. Also needed are people who are willing to pray for The Accessible Habitat Team and our Conference Disability Ministries Programs. We hope we have someone from every local church that is willing to agree to pray for our Team and programs daily! (This can also count as something specific your church is doing in the area of Disability Ministries on your Bridge Builder Application form.)
Our dream team would consist of at least two people per district who are willing to devote one day a month (depending on number of ramps requested it may only be once every two or three months) to visit a site and draw plans for a ramp. The plans would include the amount of material needed to complete the job.
We would also love to have volunteers who are willing to give one Saturday every other month to help build ramps. Ramps may be built for churches, individual Methodist members or any person in need regardless of their church affiliation. There may also be a need to help churches who need accessible restrooms built.
If you would be willing to join The Accessible Habitat Team, at least on a trial basis, please email your District Director of Disability Ministries for more information.
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 July/August edition. Information for the March/April edition should be sent to the appropriate District Director no later than JUNE 10, 2012.
Please remember also that EVERY LOCAL CHURCH is to have an annual Disability Awareness Sunday. Also, part of the church’s Charge Conference paperwork is to be the annual Accessibility Audit. For help with either of these, please contact your District Director or Deb Wade. We would love to help you in any way we can.
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
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