Disability Ministries Newsletter September 2013


Our Mission
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.

Our Vision
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 is people with disabilities, will be a motivating factor for these churches.

Disability Ministries Newsletter
September 2013


  • United Methodist Committee on Disability Ministries in Birmingham
  • In the Spotlight:Dutton United Methodist Church
  • In the Spotlight: Monte Sano United Methodist Church
  • Southeast District Advanced Lay Speaking Course – “No Child of God Left behind”
  • Book Recommendation: Mind on the Run
  • Webinar Survey


United Methodist Committee on Disability Ministries

On July 10– 13, 2013 several members of the denomination’s U.M. Committee on Disability Ministries (UMCODM) met in Birmingham for their Annual Business Meeting. North Alabama's own Deb Wade is the current Chair.

Also meeting in Birmingham during that time were several members of the United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities. Members of both groups gathered together on Wednesday evening at Bluff Park UMC for a fellowship meal, time of sharing and vespers. On Thursday morning, the meeting moved to the United Methodist Center. Deb reports that everyone was impressed with the beauty and size of ou conference headquarters!

Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference also attended to support the UMAMD group. Below is a picture of Bishop Peggy with Deb.



In the Spotlight

Dutton United Methodist Church

The following article was written in June by retired elder, Dorsey Walker. Rev. Walker is well-known throughout the North Alabama Conference for his years of service in the Sand Mountain Parish area.

Over the past several years the Dutton United Methodist Church, a small membership rural congregation on Sand Mountain has been involved in ministries focusing on the special needs of people in its community and the surrounding area. The church provides transportation for special needs persons in the community and residents of community group homes in order to allow them to participate in church activities including morning Sunday School and worship services; special gatherings and meals. Special trips have been a part of church activities along with an annual Christmas dinner and bingo party. Most recently church members have participated in the construction of two raised bed vegetable gardens to allow residents the opportunity to be involved in vegetable production. Robert “Bobby” Beavers has overseen the garden. Recently he and others were excited with the first harvest of snow peas for stir fry and an abundance of leaf lettuce for salad.

Dutton Church children, Anthony, Porter and Arnetta Mitchem join Bobby Beavers and Gaylor Hubble in gathering snow peas from the group home raised bed vegetable garden.


Monte Sano United Methodist Church Builds Accessible Playground

These days, if one happens to stop by Monte Sano UMC in Huntsville, he is likely to observe people playing, eating, socializing, exercising, and enjoying nature on the mountain-top church’s new playground. Last fall, a chance comment by the mother of an 8-year-old child with quadriplegia pointed out the church’s need for an accessible playground. Through donations; bake sales; a fundraising festival; and grants from the United Methodist Church Disability Ministries, Monte Sano Woman’s Club, and Christopher Reeve Foundation, money was raised for the playground. Shade trees, picnic tables, an adult swing, and benches give the playground the feel of a park where one just wants to linger, relax, pray, or meditate.

The entire Monte Sano community contributed to building the park with donations and labor—including building picnic tables, planting trees, and assembling playground equipment. An accessible swing, a sidewalk for easier mobility, and a barrier-free drinking fountain are included in the playground’s design. Adjacent to the playground is the church’s Martha and John A. Reynolds Ball Field where youth, adults, or families may enjoy a game of softball or volleyball.

Everyone is invited to use the playground. If you are in Huntsville, take time to drive up Monte Sano Mountain to the Monte Sano United Methodist Church playground. Take a picnic and stay awhile!



Southeast District Advanced Lay Speaking Course – “No Child of God Left behind”

The Advance Lay Speaker course, “No Child of God Left Behind,” will be taught in the Southeast District at St. Andrews UMC in Childersburg on Friday evening, October 11 and Saturday, October 12. The teacher is the North Alabama Conference Convener of Disability Ministries Deb Wade. Friday’s class time is 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday’s is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have any questions, notify Anna McCain or the Southeast District Office.



Book Recommendation: Mind on the Run

MIND ON THE RUN: A BIPOLAR CHRONICLE by Dottie Pacharis is a book that your North Alabama Conference Disability Ministries Team recommends. It is also on the 2013 United Methodist Women’s Reading Program List!

It will open your eyes to the struggles many in our society deal with on a daily basis. It will also tug at your heartstrings and, if you’re like me, it will make you cry! I hope you’ll put it on your “must read” list!



Webinar Survey

The Conference Disability Ministries Team is considering going to a Webinar service where we can offer our workshops and seminars online. This would mean that you could attend via your computer in the privacy of your own home, in your pajamas, sipping a cup of coffee or eating a sandwich. It would also mean that if the timing of the Webinar did not work with your schedule, you could access it at a later time because each Webinar would be recorded and stored on our website for future viewing. Please help us decide if this is the best way for us to go in the North Alabama Conference by completing the following survey and emailing your answers to your District Director of Disability Ministries or to Deb Wade at ddvwade@gmail.com.

Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation!

  1. Have you ever participated in a Webinar?
  2. Would you consider participating in one of our workshops if it were online as a Webinar?
  3. Do you agree that Webinars would be a more efficient use of time for the presenters and the participants?
  4. Do you agree that Webinars would cut down on the costs of workshops (mileage, hotels, meals, etc.)?
  5. Who should pay the annual subscription cost for the Webinar service: local churches in their apportionments; District Offices; or the Conference



We Want To Hear From You!

Please tell us what your church is doing in the area of Disability ministries! Wed love to share your stories to inspire others! 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. We have a Media Release Form for pictures that we can email you. Our next newsletter will be the October / November edition. Information for this edition should be sent to ddvwade@gmail.com no later than October 15, 2013.

<h3 style="color:#ffffff" ;="" align="center" "="">North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church

898 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, AL 35204
(205) 226-7950 | Toll Free Phone [within Alabama]: 800-239-7950