Annual Meeting of the UCCDM Board of Directors

The United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries Board of Director’s Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday September 29 and Friday September 30, 2016. The meeting will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Addison, Illinois. Some Board members will arrive early to attend the Pathways to Promise Conference on September 28th.

UCCDM By-laws allow for persons interested in the work of the UCCDM to attend the Annual Board meeting at their own expense. This meeting will not be webcast, limited conference call access may be available. Anyone interested in attending this meeting should complete the Call to the UCCDM Annual meeting 2016 form. Anyone needing accommodations to attend this meeting should contact the UCCDM Chair, Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas at chair@uccdm.org no later than September 15th.

Is Your Congregation Ready to Explore Accessible to All (A2A)?

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The UCCDM encourages all setting of the United Church of Christ to be Accessible to All (A2A)!

New tools are NOW ready to help local congregations determine how accessible their programs and buildings are. (Accessibility is more than a ramp!) This tool is called the Church Building And Program Accessibility Audit. This church accessibility audit can be completed online (Church Building and Program Audit ONLINE). It is also available to be printed as a PDF (UCCDM Church Building and Program Audit 12 pt PDF), LARGE PRINT PDF (UCCDM Church Building and Program Audit 16 pt PDF), Word Document (UCCDM Church Building and Program Audit 12 pt WORD), and LARGE PRINT Word Document (UCCDM Church Building and Program Audit 16 pt WORD).

Once a congregation completes a building and program audit and has identified how to become more (or continue being) inclusive of people with disabilities or/and mental health concerns, the congregation may be ready to become Accessible to All (A2A). To become A2A a congregation completes an A2A Checklist. The checklist was revised in 2016 is available to be completed online (UCCDM A2A Checklist ONLINE)or printed as a PDF (UCCDM A2A Checklist PDF) or in LARGE PRINT (UCCDM A2A Checklist LARGE PRINT PDF).

Congregations that complete the A2A Checklist are added to the A2A Listing!

“Come and see for He is risen!”

This is a second Easter entry, the thirteenth, in the UCCDM Lenten Devotional 2016 series. This devotional reflection comes from Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas. Her bio can be found on the Board of Directors page.

“That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10:37-10:41)

“Come and see!” That is the shout for today and we have walked a long Lenten road to hear it. In receiving this message we become witnesses to the fact of the resurrection.
The gospels are full of messages of Jesus’s ministry, including Jesus’s healing of people with various illnesses. The healing stories of the gospels can be troublesome for some people with disabilities. The trouble with “miraculous healings” occurs when one is not healed as another may suppose. What then? There is a history of people with disabilities being blamed and shamed for being less than “faithful” when they are not “healed”. There are places around the world today where people with disabilities are seen as demon possessed and may actually be subject to physical harm if not “healed”. (It is why we need international treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.) Healings are part of the gospel and yet they remain troubling.
Then there is my own story. I was born with cerebral palsy (CP). I was born paralyzed on the right side. It is said I used my right hand to reach out for a toy at six months of age. It was not a miraculous cure. There were many other issues from the CP that would remain part of my life. My mother will sometimes say it was an answer to the prayers she said as she faithfully did my physical therapy. I’ve never been completely comfortable with that. I put in countless hours of multiple physical, occupational, and speech therapies well into my teens. If it was all prayer, why did I have to put in so much effort? Why do I still? But the truth is I do not know how it happened–I can not say it was all one thing and none of the other. What I do know  is that I have been fundamentally changed and that the spiritual presence of Jesus has been a constant in my life. I know I am a witness to the Risen Christ’s presence because there are things I have experienced in life and in the world I can explain no other way.
This is one reason I know I am called by God to preach about Jesus the Christ. This all sometimes confuses people who meet me and do not perceive that I have disabilities. Sometimes people have demanded proof of my disabilities. So sometimes I have to just laugh at those who do not believe my witness. And I trust that the Risen Christ will be made known in healing them too.
Dear God, we ask that You would watch over those people with disabilities who may be in danger. We ask you would grant us all hope. And that you would cure our unbelief. Amen!

 

UCCDM Annual Meeting for 2015 Announced

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 kelli@womenwhospeakinchurch.com.

UCCDM Update June 2015

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 March 2015.

This year the UCCDM Board of Directors is arranged into four subcommittees focused on Stewardship and Philanthropy, Special Events, Education, and Publishing, Identity, and Communication (PIC). There are a few other subcommittees focused on specific tasks for the UCCDM such as the Nominating Committee and the Virginia Kreyer Scholarship Committee. All these subcommittees have been very active this quarter. The highlight of our work this quarter includes:

Stewardship and Philanthropy
The UCCDM Board decided to put some of the gift from the estate of the Rev. Virginia Kreyer into the Kreyer Scholarship and to invest the remainder for the future work of the UCCDM.

Special Events
General Synod 30: Arrangements for the UCCDM and UCCMHN booth as well as the UCCDM sponsored lunch to be held at General Synod 30 have been made. A new UCCDM banner has been ordered for the occasion. A video presentation about the history and work of UCCDM has been created for a Synod presentation celebrating 25 years of the ADA.
Registration for Widening the Welcome 2015 is now open! Widening the Welcome will be held September 24-26th in Hartford, Connecticut. Widening the Welcome 2015 Flyer.
Additional financial support for the Widening the Welcome Conference is being sought. You are invited to contact the UCCDM if you have thoughts about how to do this.

Education
A new booklet explaining the A2A process and a brochure on disability etiquette have been approved!
Work on revisions of “Anybody, Everybody, Christ’s Body” the A2A study document have been put on hold due to the large nature of the task.

Publishing Identity, and Communication
Envelopes for special offering to benefit the Virginia Kreyer Scholarship was created and will appear for the first time at General Synod 30.
Volunteers presented UCCDM Booths, presented workshops, and/or shared information at the Annual Gatherings of the Northern California Nevada Conference, Penn Central Conference, Southern California Conference, Rocky Mountain Conference, and the Vermont Conference.
Those wishing to present UCCDM materials at their conference annual gathering in 2016 should notify the UCCDM Secretary, secretary@uccdm.org, of this no later than January 2016.
A new booklet about the A2A process and new brochure on welcoming people with disabilities have been printed. Both will be available at General Synod 30.
An accessible press release about Widening the Welcome 2015 was added to uccdm.org.
The domain name of uccdm.org was renewed.
The email secretary@uccdm.org was established to ease leadership transitions on the Board.

Virginia Kreyer Scholarship
Rev. David Denham traveled to the Garden City UCC in New York to preach and receive an offering for the Virginia Kreyer Scholarship. Garden City UCC was Rev. Virginia Kreyer’s church of membership for many years.

Nominating
A call for UCCDM Board of Directors nominations was sent out via uccdm.org and thorugh the Conference offices to fill a seat vacated on the Board. A new Board member will be announced when the nominating process is complete. UCCDM Officers for the 2015-2017 term will be announced when all have been elected.
Three congregations have been chosen to receive UCCDM Awards for outstanding achievement in providing opportunity for all. Two persons with disabilities who have made outstanding contributions to church and/or society and two persons without disabilities who have made notable contributions to the lives of persons who have disabilities will also receive UCCDM Awards. Award winners will be announced at the UCCDM Sponsored Lunch entitled “Come Celebrate With Us! 25 Years of ADA” on June 28, 2015 at General Synod 30..
Four delegates representing UCCDM will attend General Synod 30 as voting delegates, they are Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, Rev. Susan Burns, Dr. Kevin Pettit, and Ms. Danielle Rochford.

Ecumenical Work
Rev Jeanne Tyler represented the UCCDM at the National Council of Churches (NCC) recent gathering. Rev. Tyler reports that the NCC will focus on the issue of mass incarceration for its program work over the next two years. Rev Tyler notes mass incarceration is an important topic for people living with mental health issues.

The UCCDM has been busy spreading the word about disabilities ministries. We would like to hear how you too have been working for inclusion and accessibility in your UCC context. Won’t you share your story?

Peace of Christ,
Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas
UCCDM Secretary

UCCDM Update March 2015

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 in November 2014.

At last Fall’s Annual Meeting, the UCCDM Board organized itself into four subcommittees: 1) Stewardship and Philanthropy, 2) Publications, Identity, and Communication, 3) Education, and 4) Special Events. Below are some highlights of the things we have been working on.

Stewardship and Philanthropy
The UCCDM Committee to establish the Virginia Kreyer Scholarship received a $10,000.00 matching grant to encourage donations to the fund. Thus, any individual or congregational donations to the Kreyer Fund up to $10,000 between now and the end of 2015 will be eligible for matching funds! Make your donation today!
The UCCDM Board was notified that the Virginia Kreyer Scholarship will be the recipient of an offering at Synod 2015.
The UCCDM Board was notified that the UCCDM had received a gift from the estate of Rev. Virginia Kreyer to further the work of UCCDM.

Special Events
UCC Disabilities Ministries will be sponsoring a Luncheon at Synod where we will celebrate the ADA Anniversary and present the UCCDM Awards. Look for the UCCDM booth at Synod.
Widening the Welcome 2015 is scheduled to be held September 24-26th in Hartford, Connecticut. Widening the Welcome 2015 Flyer

Publications, Identity, and Communications
This committee is working to update the UCCDM website with necessary and important details.
Infrastructure such as email address @uccdm.org are being established to support the work of UCCDM into the future.
Members of the UCC were invited to contribute to a Lenten devotional series reading the lectionary text from the lens of disability.
Discussions about a UCCDM logo have begun.

Education
A group is working on revisions of “Anybody, Everybody, Christ’s Body” to serve as an A2A Curriculum.
Plans are being made for a training about disabilities and UCCDM for UCC staff.
UCCDM continues to be involved in the development of ecumenical disability theology.
A toolkit for churches to become A2A is being developed.

The Board looks forward to a productive year spreading the word about accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities in the all aspects of the life of the church. We would love to hear what your congregation is doing to increase inclusion!

May the Peace of Christ Remain with You,
Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas
UCCDM Secretary

UCC Disabilities Ministries Seeks Nominations for Board of Directors-2015

UCC Disabilities Ministries FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (April 17, 2015)

Contact: Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, UCCDM Secretary kelli@womenwhospeakinchurch.com

The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board’s Nominations Committee is seeking people who are passionate about disability ministry who would like to serve on our Board.  Our Board is made up of people with disabilities, professionals who work in the disability field, and family members of people with disabilities.  Our mission is to encourage our denomination to create worship and meeting places, programs and leadership, classes, and activities that are accessible to all (A2A) and welcoming and inclusive of all persons with disabilities.

Some of our short term goals include increasing our voice and presence from the pews to the national planning boards; development of curriculum and programs for people with intellectual disabilities; building the Kreyer Scholarship Fund for students with disabilities who wish to pursue theological education; and increasing our web and social media presence.

Someone interested in serving with us should be someone who is a member of a UCC church; regularly reads, responds to, and is comfortable with using email; can devote a minimum of ten (10) hours a month to this work, which includes a monthly conference call meeting of about 90 minutes to two hours. Being a Board Director includes a willingness to make a financial commitment to our disability ministry each year and  serve on at least one Board subcommittee. At this time we are looking to fill a term that will end in September 2017, should any other seat come open between now and the end of September 2015 the pool of applicants replying to this call shall be considered. Applications must be received by May 15, 2015 or contact should be made with the UCCDM Secretary to explain why that deadline can not be met.

We encourage interested candidates to visit our website at http://www.uccdm.org to learn more about us. Located there are Board updates, our blog, and the application. We welcome all those with a great passion for disability ministry above all. In exchange, we offer you an opportunity to learn new skills and experience personal growth and knowledge of the workings of our denomination.

Rev. Lynda Bigler, Chair UCC Disabilities Ministries Board

Click the link to go to the UCCDM Board Director Application