International Day of Disability resources
UnitingCare Australia has provided a collection of resources and information for the International Day of DisAbility (December 3) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Week of Action (November 27 – December 3).
The Rev. Alistair Macrae, President, Uniting Church in Australia, said, “I urge congregations, ministers and Councils of our Church to support the development of this scheme [the National Disability Insurance Scheme]. It is a unique opportunity in Australia’s history to move from a service system of competitive misery to one of basic rights. At any point in time any Australian may experience a catastrophic injury, and need essential support services. We are called by Jesus to respond with compassion and solidarity with all people who are marginalised, in this instance, on account of disability. Count me in.”
People with disabilities and their families and carers need a fair go.
UnitingCare Australia is encouraging Uniting Church congregations to take the opportunity of this day to raise awareness about disability within their own communities, and to be involved in change through showing support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The materials provided offer assistance in planning liturgies over one or two Sundays.
UnitingCare Australia hopes the resources are useful can help congregations to better understand the importance of the initiative. For additional information or to discuss how to use this in your congregation, contact Eddie Chapman on (03) 9325 2542
What would the NDIS provide?
It will fund long-term high quality care and support (but not income replacement) for people with significant disabilities. Everyone would be insured and around 410 000 people would receive scheme funding support.
It would make sure that everyone who acquires a disability, regardless of the circumstances, is able to receive support.
Government funding provided to support people with disabilities would double, from $7 billion per annum to $14 billion per annum. This would ensure that more people are able to receive supports, and the level of support better matches their level of needs.
People will have choice. Support funding will be tailored to individual needs and people can choose between providers, or ask for a service to coordinate their support for them. Their support would be more flexible and more able to address what their core needs are.
What ministers and congregations can do
- Highlight the needs of people with disabilities with your congregation during this week of action, through church services, small groups, promotional material or church bulletins/information.
- Encourage your church congregation to support the Every Australian Counts campaign by visiting their website (www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au) and signing up.
- Direct interested people within your community to further support UnitingCare’s advocacy in regards to the NDIS. They can do this by getting in contact directly with Eddie Chapman on 9325 2542.
- Invite someone from within your own congregation or community to come and share their experience of a disability and how the supports an NDIS would offer would change their lives.
Find out more about the NDIS and how people can support it.
Show this video which gives a first-hand account of how the NDIS would change someone’s life.
Print out one or both of the UnitingCare disability advocacy documents to hand out to interested congregation members, put on display or distribute as hand-outs.
Announcements and community news. Alert people to the existence of the Every Australian Counts website and encourage them to visit the website and sign up as a supporter.
Alternatively, have a sign-up sheet available on the day and encourage people to sign up. These can be downloaded here.
Call to Worship:
LEADER: Lord, how awesome it is that we can gather here today and loudly sing praises to your name, and know that we are standing in your presence!
PEOPLE: Lord, I can’t stand. I use a wheelchair and there is no place for my chair.
LEADER: It really is great, Lord, that we are able to hear you speak to us through the proclamation of the word this morning!
PEOPLE: I’m sorry, God. I didn’t hear what was said.
LEADER: And, Lord, it’s so fantastic to be able to read your Word along with the pastor, and to recite the creeds, and litanies.
PEOPLE: This morning my vision is dim, God. I cannot read the bulletin.
LEADER: Lord, we really feel blessed that we understand everything that is happening around us in the church in this hour.
PEOPLE: God, why do I learn so much slower than others, and must feel, week after week, that I do not really belong here?
ALL: Open us, O God. Make us accessible to your Spirit, and accessible to all your people.
Adapted from the Rev. Dave Wade.
Prayer of Confession
Almighty and creating God; we come before you today as people who are separated from one another by fear, prejudice, and ignorance. By our language, actions and facilities we declare insiders and outsiders in our lives and in our church. Forgive us and create in us the vision of opening our hearts, minds, and doors as wide as the love of God, so that no one is left outside. Help us to reach beyond ourselves to discover the joy of community. Give us the patience to discover that all people have gifts and abilities to share with our community of faith. We pray in Jesus name. Amen
Adapted from Southeastern United Methodist Agency for Rehabilitation (SEMAR) 2004.
Litany of Wholeness
Let us pray for all God’s people.
For people who are blind and cannot see, and for those who can see but are blind to people around them,
God, in your mercy, help us touch each other.
For people who move slowly because of accident, illness or disability, and
For those who move too fast to be aware of the world in which they live,
God, in your mercy, help us work together.
For people who are deaf and cannot hear, and for those who can hear but who ignore the cries of others,
God, in your mercy, help us to respond to each other.
For people who learn slowly, for people who learn in different ways, and for people who learn quickly and easily but often choose ignorance,
God, in your mercy, help us grow in your wisdom.
For families, friends and care-givers who serve people with disabilities, and for those who feel awkward in their presence,
God, in your mercy, help us to see each other with your eyes.
For people who feel isolated by their disabilities, and for people who contribute to that sense of isolation,
God, in your mercy, change our lives.
For all people in your creation, that we may learn to respect each other and learn how to live together in your peace,
God, in your mercy, bind us together.
Written by the Rev. Kate Chipps and adapted by Ginny Thornburgh. Reproduced with permission from: “That All May Worship – An Interfaith Welcome To People With Disabilities”.
Things to think about …
… children are curious. Encourage them to ask questions. Give them honest answers. More often than not people with disabilities would rather be asked about their disability than have a curious child stare at them and wonder.
… have a child with a disability help with the children’s message. Not as the center of attention, but as an expert on the subject.
… ask a child with a disability what they wish people without disabilities knew about them or their disability.
… ask the sibling of a child with a disability what they wish the world knew about their brother or sister.
Mark 2: 3-11 – Through the roof
3Then some people* came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7’Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ 8 At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? 10But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic— 11’I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’
Things to think about …
… when planning and writing your sermon, challenge yourself to place an emphasis on the four people who lifted the paralytic man to the roof and then lower him inside. These four people provide a perfect example of appropriate social interaction and early solutions to structural barriers.
… portray individuals with disabilities as people with gifts, talents and abilities. Try to move away from the general attitude that people with disabilities only need sympathy and healing.
As we seek to have open hearts, open minds and open doors… Help us to move beyond opening the door to welcome only those who can climb the steps to enter. Help us to move beyond opening our hearts to love only those who look like us. And help us to move beyond opening our minds to accept only those who think like us. Help us to create an environment, in our church and in our community, where all are welcome. In your name we pray. Amen
Adapted from the Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Binford, IIIinois.
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