Today is raining and dismal, but behind that lies the promise of Spring. For the past week, I have been eagerly looking out the window to see how far our snow has receded. This morning I see grass– not much but it’s there and with that glimpse, Spring feels very close.
As I write this, I realize I haven’t been on here for a long time (I’ve missed winter:) and the truth is, it’s just been busy!
This ‘not-so-new-anymore’ year has much to offer us as a ministry– read on to find out how this year has been going and learn some things that wait in our future.
Some HCM Program Highlights
Part of what we do is host programs to support individuals with disabilities in their faith walk.
Friendship group is a bible study fellowship group that meets weekly. We have a wide range of individuals who attend and on Thursday evenings I may need anywhere from 15-40 chairs. One of the challenges of Friendship is how to take what we talk about and put it into practice (isn’t that the challenge of every Christian?). How can we match our talk to our walk? How can we make it real? That means that we are looking for authentic opportunities. At least once a month we have a Thursday with a service aspect where individuals are challenged to do for others. It is amazing and quite telling to note that these evenings are the most energetic and interactive. I love the picture that I get to take home on these nights— people working together, talking together, laughing together, giving together—-JOYFULLY! I leave blessed and encouraged and energized. In fact I think of those evenings as a true gift to me.
Some giving aspects that have happened are: collecting pop tabs/stamps/soup labels for various agencies within Winnipeg, making blankets/scarves for Winnipeg’s homeless, clothing drive, bookmark making, Christmas treat bags for kids, Christmas card preparation and our very latest– Easter Basket Bonanza. We are currently in the midst of preparing at least 130 Easter Baskets to be given to children in the North End this Easter. This is only the second year, but I love the enthusiasm and the ownership that our members have for this project.
Learning to give beyond ourselves is important and empowering; many of us need to be encouraged to incorporate giving into our daily lives. Friendship this year is a reminder that we all have been created to serve.
We have begun to make beautiful music! We started this year on all different levels and our notes were disjointed. But as we have gotten to know each other as a group, as we have discovered our individual gifts and comfort levels, we have also learned to make music together. Our “joyful noise” is now filled with melody and song! We are ready to play in front of others and have contacted several churches. Our hand chime choir is a chance to bring a message to churches: individuals with disabilities have the ability to glorify God through the gift of music.
Church Resources: Part of our ministry is also to encourage churches and other Christian Ministries to be proactive and inclusive. Sounds good but what does this mean? How can we be intentional and proactive ourselves? How can we be a resource and a support for churches?
We have committed to answering these questions in two ways:
Building and maintaining a resource library
Preparing a series of workshops aimed at encouraging and equipping those interested and/or involved in ministry to and with individuals with disabilities. We are excited about this initiative which has the following works in progress:
In HIS Image: Understanding LD/ADHD
Hand-on Inclusion Kit: Equipping Sunday School teachers with tools and strategies
Disability Tax Credit and Registered Disability Savings Plan
Leaving Home and Moving On
Spiritual Milestones: Nurturing spiritual growth for individuals with intellectual disabilities
Enfolded and Empowered: Spiritual care for members with disabilities
You Name it!
So as you can see, we are busy! I have a list of stories to add and share–and hopefully will be able to add them soon.