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NORTH ALABAMA CONFERENCE of the United Methodist Church. DISABILITY AWARENESS WORKSHOP. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit,

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what a friend we have in jesus
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer.

(2) Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness;

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,

Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge,

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do they friends despise, forsake


Take it to the Lord in prayer!

In his arms He’ll take and shield thee;

thou wilt find a solace there!

responsive reading
  • Leader: We come together today as people with different skills, different abilities, different disabilities.
  • People: We come, however, as one body in Christ.
  • Leader: We ask God to help us be compassionate toward all, even as God has been compassionate toward us.
  • People: Gather us together, in compassion and in faith. Help us to welcome and honor everyone in this community.
Leader: Regardless of physical strength and ability,
  • People: Regardless of differences of mind or spirit,
  • Leader: Open us, O God. Make us accessible to your Spirit, and accessible to all your people.
  • All: Amen.
do you have to be concerned with disabilities
Do You Have To Be Concerned With Disabilities???
  • Illustration: the hen, the pig and the cow
semar says
SEMAR says…

"To not have a disability is a condition that very few people have for only a short period of time. If you live long enough, you will join the rest of us where your life is either controlled by your disabilities or you choose to emphasize your abilities."




Paragraph 162i, Page 111 – Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Basically, this states that persons with disabilities are full members of the family of God. It states that the Church and society be in ministry to people with disabilities and recognize and receive their gifts. The Church and society are also called on to protect the civil rights of persons with all types and kinds of disabilities.

Paragraph 265.4, Page 196

Disability Awareness Sunday Annual Conferences are to set a date for which Disability Awareness Sunday is to be observed by its churches ANNUALLY. Purpose: to celebrate the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and calls the Church and society to full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community. An offering may be taken. The observance shall be under

the general supervision of the GBGM.

accessibility audit required

Paragraph 2532.6, Page 723 Calls for an annual accessibility audit to be carried out by (or under direction of) the board of trustees, in cooperation with the health and welfare ministries representative…It is to be used in filling out the annual church and/or charge conference reports.

required training
Required Training

Paragraph 630.1d, Page 404

Training for clergy and laity Annual conferences are to provide training for clergy and laity in ministries with persons with disabilities, including the areas of Sunday School, camps and retreats, and faith development.

(Pictured: Debbie Wade speaking on Disability Ministries at the North Alabama Annual Conference in 2008)

n alabama conference

At our June 2005 Annual Conference the Consent Calendar proposal passed concerning Disability Awareness Sunday. Each local church is to have an annual Disability Awareness Sunday during the Fall of each calendar year.

At the June 2009 Annual Conference the Consent Agenda petitions passed. One petition states that our Conference will require all local churches to uphold the Discipline’s requirement to have an annual Disability Awareness Sunday

At our June 2006 Annual Conference, the consent agenda passed saying that all pastors should notify Debbie Wade by February 1st of each year as to the date they had their Disability Awareness Sunday. All Districts were also to have a Director of Disability Ministries and each local church was encouraged to do the same.

At our June 2009 Annual Conference, a petition on the consent agenda stating that each local church would uphold the Discipline’s requirement for an annual Accessibility Audit passed.

god loves all of his children
God Loves ALL Of His Children
  • Illustration: Money!
statistics not to be ignored
Statistics Not To Be Ignored
  • 1 out of every 5 people has one or more disabilities. This is the statistic we have used since our Disability Ministry began. The new figure for the chronically ill (may not technically include “disabilities,”) is 1 out of every 2.
pick one disability autism
Pick One Disability – Autism
  • 20 years ago 1 out of every 20,000 babies born became Autistic
  • Today, in USA, 1 out of every 150 babies born will become Autistic!!!!
  • Medical costs for a child with Autism will be 3.2 million dollars during the child’s lifetime!!!
  • Autism usually develops sometime during the first two years of a child
  • Boys outnumber girls 4 to 1
statistics not to be ignored1
Statistics Not To Be Ignored

* Of these numbers only 47% attend church at least once a month. That means 53% do NOT!

  • Nationwide, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 60%!
  • Of those with disabilities who do find a job, their pay is often as much as 50% less than co-workers without disabilities!
breakdown in the family
Breakdown In The Family!
  • 4 out of every 5 marriages in which a family member has a disability will end in divorce after the disability enters the family
the healing gift of faith
The Healing Gift of Faith!
  • Depression is 15-20% higher for chronically ill. However, the significance of one's faith has shown to lower the risk of depressive symptoms and aid in better handling a stressful medical event
we must act now
We Must Act NOW!
  • Various studies report physical illness or uncontrollable physical pain are major factors in up to 70% of suicides; and more than 50% of these suicidal patients were under 35 years of age
  • The number one cause of teenage suicide is related to disabilities!!!
disability numbers
  • The State of Alabama has between 950,000 and 1 million people with disabilities!
disability statistics by counties
Disability Statistics By Counties
  • Calhoun – 25,861
  • Cleburne – 3,202
  • Randolph – 5,181
  • Clay – 3,307
  • Talladega – 19,976
  • Coosa – 3,559
  • Tallapoosa – 10,901
  • Chambers – 9,207
  • Jefferson - 136,578
  • Others you want to know??? Contact Debbie Wade –
what s in this for me
What’s In This For ME???
  • Churches with active Disability Ministries GROW in number and GROW spiritually according to statistics
churches benefit
Churches Benefit!
  • Churches benefit from those with Disabilities who take an active part in the worship life of the church (singing; greeters; etc.)

Gordon Mote, blind since birth, is a professional Gospel singer and pianist.

god don t make no junk
“God Don’t Make No Junk”
  • The love of God is spread!
  • Jesus is made REAL to those who previously thought He was for “others”
  • Communities benefit (ex. Suicide rates and divorce rate should decline)
accessibility audit
Accessibility Audit
  • Please turn in your ACCESSIBILITY AUDITS before April 30, 2010
  • REMEMBER our Discipline says that each church will complete an accessibility audit each year.


CHURCH Accessibility S U R V E Y

mail or email answers to
Mail or Email Answers TO:

Debbie Wade

962 Black Road

Somerville, AL 35670

Home: (256)778-7783

Cell: (256)303-1527


information available
Information Available
  • Bulletin Handouts
  • Brochure on Disability Ministry
  • Information on any Disability
  • Local church workshop
  • This powerpoint presentation may be emailed
  • My “old” Disability Awareness Sermons
worship time mark 10 46 52
Worship Time / Mark 10:46-52
  • 46Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  48Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
 49Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." 50Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
  •  51"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him.       The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."
  •  52"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.



a place called acceptance
A Place Called Acceptance


If you could create your “dream” church,

how would that church meet your specific

needs as a parent or family member of a

child with disabilities?

NUMBER ONE ANSWER (76.7%) was….

The church would have a welcoming attitude!

The biggest barrier is NOT accessible barriers


attitudinal barriers!!!!!

mark 10 50
Mark 10:50

50---Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

It is time we followed Jesus’ example. We need to ask Him to open our eyes that we might truly see the needs of His Special Children!

LET US PRAY TOGETHERMerciful and Life-giving God, we confess that we have been wayward children. You taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves and we chose to be selfish with our love. We have disregarded Your example and dishonored Your name when we chose not to celebrate the holiness of Your created world or proclaim the sacred worth of our brothers and sisters with disabling conditions.

Forgive us, God of compassion, when we have veered from the path You created for us and when we forget what it means to welcome You in our midst. Help us remember Your teachings. Help us mold our life to Your example.

Free us from our sinfulness, Holy Creator, and lead us in the ways of justice and truth.