Why Our Congregations Must Become Accessible
- Imago Dei – All people are created in the image of God, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:26(a), 28)
- Each of us is only provisionally able-bodied – We are one trauma, injury, or disease away from becoming a person with a disability.
People with disabilities have lessons to teach us – Physically, emotionally, and spiritually about patience and endurance in the sanctity of suffering – living with hope by the grace of God in limitations. This offers the greatest testimony for effective witness through worship, study, leadership, and evangelism.
- People with disabilities are a blessing to the church – Ellen White said in Testimonies, Vol 3, page 511 that “The blind, the deaf…(and persons with disabilities) in a variety of ways, have been placed in close Christian relationship to His church; it is to prove His people and develop their true character. Angels of God are watching to see how we treat these persons who need our compassion, love, and disinterested benevolence. This is God’s test of our character.”
- Whenever anyone (regardless of circumstance) is excluded from the body of Christ, that body is not complete – When the body is not complete, it cannot function fully.
- “Christ regards all acts of mercy, benevolence and thoughtful consideration for the unfortunate, the blind, the (disabled), the sick, the widow, and the orphan, as done to Himself, and these works are preserved in the heavenly records, and will be rewarded.” (Christian Service, page 268)
- Welcoming people with disabilities in our churches teaches our children and youth examples of compassion, acceptance, and patience towards a diverse congregation.
- Accessibility into and throughout our church facility gives a visible sign to our surrounding community that we mean what we say – there no one is shut out or kept out of God’s House because of disability.
Adapted from www.disability99.org