This site is designed and maintained by the UCC DM web team to help members and friends of the UCC explore what it means for our churches (and our hearts) to be “accessible to all” (A2A Study Guide).
This is the first entry in the UCCDM Lenten Devotional 2016 series. This devotional reflection comes from Dr. Kevin Pettit for Ash Wednesday. His bio cam be found on the Board of Directors page.
Joel 2:1-2, 12:17
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near—
2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.
12 Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly;
16 gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.
17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations.Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
Even though we live in a very different context than the author of the book of Joel, his call for repentance still sounds loudly in today’s world. For, indeed, is not our world today at least partly filled with gloom, clouds, and thick darkness? The similarity of the present times of difficulty to those described in the book of Joel account for the resonance of these Biblical texts. So, too, do we sense the need to withdraw somehow, reflect on our lives, and struggle with our call in this world just as Jesus did during his extended time of isolation that we commemorate during Lent. A time of penitential preparation – a time of self-examination, prayer, fasting, and works of love – in preparation for our remembrance of the betrayal and cross of Jesus, as well as the resurrection of the living Christ, will profit our spirits. We hope that your Lenten journey might be aided by these Reflections and the consideration of their meaning and import in our lives today.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent which, in many churches, is commemorated by anointing one’s forehead with ashes as a reminder of one’s mortality. The crude and dark mess of these ashes – a form of matter similar to the eventual form that our bodies take after we die – is a fitting remembrance of disorder in our lives. But are not such scars of imperfection the very marks of our humanity?
While everyone’s particular set of challenges is unique – sometimes being as apparent as a missing limb and at other times being as hidden as diabetes – we each share more or less common challenges of body, mind, and spirit much like the ashes marking our foreheads at the beginning of Lent. However, even after washing ourselves clean of these ashes, we all need to learn to live productively with the imperfections that mark us as children of God.
To do this, we can set aside some time daily during this time of Lent to study and reflect upon the Bible or other sacred texts, reflect on our needs and struggles, our intentions and our actions, and our effect on family, friends, and all others. As we are called to embody Christ, we must take the time to consider how we might best promote the construction of the city of God. Such meditative times can serve to prepare our spirits for the work ahead.
Let us begin on this Lenten effort boldly and with strength!
UCCDM Update Fall & Winter Update 2016
Grace and peace to those who may be interested in the work of the UCC Disability Ministries Board–Friends, UCC Members, UCC Clergy, UCC persons with disability and our ecumenical partners.
This is to provide you with an update of the work of the UCC Disability Ministry (UCCDM) Board of Directors since our last update published for June 2015.
In September 2015 we welcomed four new Board Members and one new ex-offico Board Member to UCCDM Board of Directors they are Mr. Paul Fogle from Penn Central Conference; Dr. Nadyne Guzman the Rocky Mountain Conference; Ms. Terry Martinez from South Central Conference; Mr. David Ridings from the Nebraska Conference; and Rev. Dr. Sarah Griffith Lund from Indiana/Kentucky Conference. Their bios can be viewed on our board of directors’ page. During the summer of 2015 we also elected new officers of the UCCDM as follows: Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, Chair; Rev. Susan Burns, Vice Chair; Mr. Paul Fogle, Treasurer; and Ms. Danielle Rochford, Secretary.
Excited as we are about our new board members we also said goodbye to three board members, all who served as officers, and an ex-officio member. We thank Rev. Lynda Bigler former Chair, Rev. Jeanne Tyler former Vice Chair, Rev. Craig Modahl former Treasurer, and Rev. Alan Johnson Ex-Officio for their time and service on UCCDM.
2015 Annual Meeting Hartford, CT
At our annual meeting in Hartford, CT, in September 2015 UCCDM Board of Directors recognized that 2016 will be a transitional year towards future works of UCCDM. As part of our transitional year UCCDM has developed a vision which will guide is during the 2016
Our vision is to develop and implement a campaign to create awareness of UCCDM and strengthen relationships and increase the value of an accessible to all community. Accessible to all is recognized and honored through the life our church.
In 2016 The UCCDM Board will be busy spreading the word about accessibility and inclusion with the goal of increasing the number of A2A churches in the denomination. The UCCDM Board is clarifying the A2A process–a new church program audit for accessibility and A2A checklist were approved at our January 2016 meeting. We have agreed to partner with the UCC Mental Health Network to maintain a constant contact account to send announcements out. We continue to seek ways to improve the website and we have a Board member devoted to this task. We also have Board members committed to doing outreach to and partnering with churches who wish to become A2A. We also have members of the board who are developing a budget and creating fundraising goals to further the goal of inclusion of people with disabilities in the life of the church. The UCCDM also continues to maintain ecumenical partnerships related to disability on behalf of the UCC.
Since our meeting in Hartford we have recognized two new A2A congregations:
#3 Congregational Church of North Barnstead, United Church of Christ, Center Barnstead, New Hampshire
#4 UCC Parker Hilltop, Parker, Colorado
Looking to join in the work of disabilities ministries? Much of the work of disabilities ministries is done at local church level, you can get involved by sharing the UCCDM mission with your church and start working towards becoming the fifth A2A church! In the coming months another need will be fundraising. Our funding structure has changed, since we reached our fundraising goal for the Kreyer Scholarship we will now be turning our attention to the fundraising to support the on-going work of the UCCDM.
Ms. Danielle Rochford
Last year the UCC Disabilities Ministries Board posted Lenten reflections to their website and this will be done again in 2016. These reflections will be based on the Lenten lectionary and will be provided for Ash Wednesday, the six (6) Sundays in Lent, as well as Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. These eleven (11) reflections should offer views of the biblical texts as understood through the lens of disability, providing new and/or alternate ways to preach, teach, reflect upon, or pray over familiar passages of the Bible. These reflections should be written by people with disabilities or by people with significant knowledge of persons with disabilities. As Lent again approaches in 2016, we hope to provide these resources to assist pastors and parishioners, church leaders, and pastoral caregivers in their Lenten studies, preaching, work, and caregiving.
We invite those who wish to write similar reflections this year to choose a date below and submit your reflection to: firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadlines listed. Please note that we encourage all forms of expression including works containing graphic works, and audio or visual works.
Note that in order to to be considered for the UCCDM Lenten reflections, all submissions must address the text through a lens of disability.
Thank you in advance for your submission.
Dr. Kevin Pettit and Rev. Susan Burns for the UCC Disabilities Ministries Board
Instructions for the UCCDM Lenten Reflections:
- Entries must be based on the Revised Common Lectionary
- Maximum number of words: 500 (preferred length of approximately 250 words)
- Quotations of others’ work is not permitted
- Format: word doc, Google doc, email text
- Authors will not receive compensation for their reflections
- Authors will be notified if selected
Dates and deadlines for reflections and submissions:
Ash Wednesday: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Submission due Jan. 30
First Sunday of Lent: Sunday, February 14, 2016
Submission due Feb. 04
Second Sunday of Lent: Sunday, February 21, 2016
Submission due Feb. 11
Third Sunday in Lent: Sunday, February 28, 2016
Submission due Feb. 18
Fourth Sunday in Lent: Sunday, March 6, 2016
Submission due Feb. 25
Fifth Sunday in Lent: Sunday, March 13, 2016
Submission due Mar. 3
Palm Sunday: Sunday, March 20, 2016
Submission due Mar. 10
Maundy Thursday: Thursday, March 24, 2016
Submission due Mar. 10
Good Friday: Friday, March 25, 2016
Submission due Mar. 10
Holy Saturday: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Submission due Mar. 10
Easter Sunday: Sunday, March 27, 2016
Submission due Mar. 10
Listen to and view the events of Widening the Welcome: Inclusion for All, September 24-26, 2015, Hartford, CT, hosted by the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network and Disabilities Ministries. We’ve posted videos and audios from the 5th national United Church of Christ Widening the Welcome: Inclusion for All Conference 2015.
The opening worship and the keynote speakers are posted as video files; while the workshops are posted as audio files.
These are posted on the Widening the Welcome 2015 playlist within the WtW channel on YouTube.
United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (September 7, 2015)
UCCDM REACHES $100,000 MILESTONE
The United Church of Christ Disability Ministries Board (UCCDM) is excited to announce that they have reached the first fundraising goal of $100,000 to fund The Virginia Kreyer Endowed Scholarship Fund for persons with disabilities called to authorized ministry in the United Church of Christ. Student applicants with disabilities and/or mental health concerns seeking ordination, licensed, or commissioned ministry will be awarded scholarship assistance beginning in 2016. Application information will become available later in the fall.
This scholarship honors the life, struggles, and work of the Rev. Virginia Kreyer. Born with Cerebral Palsy, Virginia experienced a call from God to ministry and answered that call. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary and ordained by the American Baptist Church, she struggled with not receiving a call from a local parish. In 1967, she joined Garden City UCC in New York and began organizing a committee concerned with issues around disability and the church. She brought a resolution to the New York Conference and then took it to the General Synod. Virginia was the first consultant to the committee which became the UCCDM. We are so grateful for the gifts of this “feisty” woman and the mission and ministry she nurtured, supported, and empowered.
The Second Hundred campaign has begun and there are various ways to donate. First, donations can be sent directly to Ms Pat Lyden, Associate Director, Grant and Scholarship Administration, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue East, Cleveland, OH 44115. Second, October 11, 2015 is Accessibility Sunday, celebrated throughout the United Church of Christ. Churches are encouraged to take a special offering for the Kreyer Fund that day and send it to the above address. Finally, donate through either the UCC.org or uccdm.org. Although donors “land” on a page that appears to be exclusively for the UCC Annual Fund, page 2 of the donor form allows donors to designate the special offering or scholarship fund the donation is for. No matter how a donor chooses to give, please be sure to indicate the Kreyer Scholarship Fund on checks, cover letters, or on the online form.
Register now for Widening the Welcome 2015, which will be held in Hartford, Connecticut on September 24-26, 2015, before the rate goes up on Friday, Sept. 4.
Widening the Welcome 2015: Inclusion for All will celebrate the theme “Your gates shall always be open; day and night they shall not be shut.” (Isaiah 60: 11 NRSV) with speakers and workshops designed to assist congregations in welcoming and ministering with people with disabilities and/or mental health challenges. Keynote speakers include The Rev. Dr. Christina Jones Davis speaking on “The Journey Towards Inclusion,” and The Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell speaking on “Inclusion 2.0: Envisioning What Comes Next.”
Complete information, including links to the registration packet, on-line registration, hotel booking, and ADA airport/hotel transfer information, is available now here:
The UCCDM Annual Meeting for 2015 has been scheduled. The Annual Meeting will be held at the Windsdor/Hartford Marriott Hotel in Hartford, CT starting on Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 4pm and running through Tuesday, September 29 at 12:00 noon.
UCCDM Board Directors are expected to attend. According to UCCDM by-laws other persons who are interested in attending may do so , at their own expense. This meeting will not be webcast. If you have interest in attending or for more information, contact the Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas at email@example.com.