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Disability Ministries Task Force of Susquehanna Conference Newsletter
Happy Spring! There are lots of exciting things happening at the Disability Ministries Task Force of the Susquehanna Conference and I would like to send a quick note in order to update you on what is happening this month.
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Guest Article from Amanda Gene Nelson:
The People of Christ Community United Methodist Church provided a donation $40.00 in order to fairly compensate Amanda Gene Nelson for her testimony regarding her faith and how it intersects with her multiple disabilities. Amanda is a freelance writer from Florida with a degree in journalism. Despite her gift for writing, she has not been able to find paid employment. We are honored to be Amanda’s very first paid byline and to compensate her at a fair market rate for her story. It is our hope that now that Amanda has had paid work, she will be able to find other paid opportunities and eventually a full time job.
Please be aware, the employment rate for people with disabilities is dismal. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, eighty percent of people with disabilities are unemployed. When helping members of the disability community, please remember that most people with disabilities would choose to work if given the opportunity. Often, the reason people with disabilities cannot find employment is because of society’s inherent ableism and prejudice (Amanda writes about this in her article).
I hope that you will support Amanda’s writing by “liking’ and “sharing,” her article. You can find it here: https://disabilityumc.org/2019/05/15/amandagenearticle/
Also, if you have parents in your congregation who have children with low vision or cerebral palsy, Amanda offers training and coaching for parents. Please feel free to use her as a resource.
We Have a Table at Annual Conference
We have a table at annual conference in conjunction with the Mental Health Task Force! Please feel free to stop by and say, “Hello!”
Disability Awareness Sunday- Resolution
Our resolution to create a Disability Awareness Sunday has been included in the Annual Conference workbook. Please be sure to support our resolution. I would also like to encourage you to consider ways to celebrate Disability Awareness Sunday in your own churches. Let’s be creative! If you have any resources for a Disability Awareness Sunday that you would like to share, please let me know and I will publish them to our blog.
A Special, “Thank You,” to Rev. Jennett Wertz!
Thank you, Jennett! We really appreciate you providing American Sign Language interpretation for Annual Conference. When you see Jennett, please make sure to let her know that we appreciate her.
Other Adaptations at Annual Conference
Members of our task force have worked alongside the worship committee in order to put in place the following accommodations:
1.) Priority Seating
For the first time since we have been at Hershey Lodge, we will have priority seating for people with disabilities and companions/friends. Priority seating will be near the front in a special section where people will be able to see Jennett, who will be providing ASL interpretation.
2.) Accessible Bulletins
The worship committee agreed to send me the bulletins for annual conference ahead of time. I will then upload them as OCR-PDF to our website. This will allow people who need large print to enlarge them. If I convert them to OCR, they should also work with voice-software.
Note; I have not yet received the bulletins. I will send an e-mail to the worship committee in order to follow up since we are getting into crunch time and uploading them might take a while, especially if I have to convert the files.
Write for Our Website!
Please consider sharing a personal testimony or other resource for our blog. If you need inspiration, please check out Amanda’s article, she did a great job.
Thank you for all that you do!
I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at Annual Conference!
-Rev. Rebecca L. Holland
Disability Ministries Task Force of the Susquehanna Conference, Chair