Disability Awareness Sunday

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Disability Awareness Sunday is February 5, 2017

Faith communities have the opportunity to open their doors wide on Sunday, February 5, 2017. In the Baltimore-Washington Conference, the first Sunday in February is the day that is designated for churches to observe Disability Awareness Sunday, or observe it on another Sunday that best suits the church's schedule. 

Did you know that statistics number Americans with disabilities at over 50 million people? This is approximately 1 in every 5 people. Add this number of people whose disability is relational and emotional, and this category may include almost every other person in the pew. Perhaps a few of these people will be willing to help plan it and assist leading worship (personal testimonies are a great way to add awareness). 

You may wonder why observe it when there are other observed Sundays throughout the year. Simply, because it's mentioned in the gospel. In Luke 14, Jesus taught a lesson using one of his parables, The Great Banquet, which emphasized the inclusion of individuals with disabilities. He said about the invitation, "...so my (Father's) House may be filled" (Luke 14:23). Jesus' invitation to the gospel is for all people and we should be sure not to overlook anyone. 

Also, in between Jesus' words is the emphasis of having a welcoming attitude. In fact, according to one survey, the biggest barrier for individuals with disabilities and their families for coming to church isn't a physical barrier, it's an attitudinal barrier (Beats, 2012). So, make sure to express a welcoming attitude when offering your church's hospitality on the Sunday you observe Disability Awareness Sunday. One example of a welcoming attitude is using politically correct language (e.g. "Please stand or stand in your hearts as we sing our first hymn.")

The Commission on Disability Concerns has a downloadable church kit to assist with worship planning and ideas for observing this day. The church kit includes bulletin inserts, liturgy, litanies, Scripture recommendations, suggested music, printable resources and handouts, sermon ideas, and more.  

With many churches in decline, this is a time to reach out to the disability community this February and observe this important Sunday. You just may have new families come worship. Whatever you do, don't forget to promote it.

Download resources for Disability Awareness Sunday


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