Celebrating Disability Awareness Sunday gives congregations the opportunity to assess how they welcome and include people with disabilities and find ways to acknowledge and utilize the gifts and graces of all people. The Annual Conference set Feb. 19, 2017 as the date to observe Disability Awareness Sunday, but local churches may use a different date.
"Nearly 20 percent of the population lives with some type of disability, and many more are affected through loved ones who have disabilities," said the Rev. Anais Hussain, chair of the Conference Disability Concerns committee. "Persons with disabilities possess exceptional gifts and graces that enrich the life of a congregation, but they cannot share these gifts and graces if they cannot enter the building or do not feel welcome. . .
It is important to remember that any one of us who does not already have a disability may, at any moment, acquire a disability through an illness or accident."
Remember too that many conditions are not seen.
There are many ways to celebrate Disability Awareness Sunday. Here are a few:
Invite someone with a disability to share an I am ABLE moment. Instead of focusing on deficits that people with disabilities have, this person can share their abilities with the congregation, bringing light to some of the many gifts that persons with disabilities possess.
Receive a Special Offering on Disability Awareness Sunday. The offering will fund grants to help Western PA congregations or agencies with accessibility projects that allow all people to attend worship and other activities as they seek to enrich their faith and establish Christian community. Download a bulletin insert.