Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Deaf Church Celebrating 35 Years


By Rev. Leo Yates, Jr.

Almost a generation after its founding, Magothy United Methodist Church of the Deaf is still going strong. It is one of only two Deaf churches in the United Methodist denomination, and is now celebrating over 35 years as a church.
Magothy began as a missional congregation in 1975. The Deaf congregation was approved and chartered as a church in 1982. Flo Johnson, one of the founding members tells of its inception. "My husband, Ed, and I lived in Pasadena, MD. One of the deaf worship services in the area at that time was at the Baptist Church. We weren't drawn to their tradition. In fact, we quite enjoyed Wesleyan history and Methodist hymns. Most Deaf people do not enjoy music since they do not hear it, but we did. We often led hymns during worship,” says Johnson.
"Magothy has evolved over the decades, which initially served the Deaf and hard of hearing individuals and their families living in Anne Arundel County, to now serving both Deaf and hearing people. In fact, many of the Deaf and hard of hearing individuals attending Magothy Deaf Church are seen serving hearing people in their community, such as assisting with coordination of the church's Door Step Mission (food pantry), making bag lunches for the annual winter relief, through sign language classes for the community, and other ministries. While there is a hearing focus, Magothy still has a deaf focus that includes ministries such as the Deaf Seniors Program and a deaf addiction recovery support group," says Rev. Leo Yates, Jr., a provisional deacon appointed to the church.
“Our Deaf church is very important to my family and I’m thankful it is here for the Deaf community,” says Darlene Koontz, a long-time church leader.
The worship experience caters to both deaf and hearing people, where songs are signed and sung, says Pastor Emily Smiley, the current pastor. "Thirty-five years is a long time for a church and we are grateful to the Baltimore-Washington Conference for financially supporting the church over the years," says Pastor Smiley.
To celebrate this important milestone, Magothy Deaf Church does what many United Methodist churches do: host a potluck lunch after worship. The dinner will be April 29, 2017.
 photo of church from outside, showing a red door and steeple

Friday, April 21, 2017

News and notes from AMD, 4/21/17

Learning to Sing Again (NYT disability feature)
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/opinion/learning-to-sing-again.html

Social justice and disability in language
http://harvardmagazine.com/2017/05/social-justice-in-linguistics

UM Disability blog: the body of Christ
http://umdisability.blogspot.com/2017/04/disability-and-body-of-christ-2-broken.html


Fourth Global Mission Conference of the Deaf
http://llumc.org/4gmd


Disability (SSI) isn't easy...
http://www.thegazette.com/subject/opinion/blogs/lynda-waddington/disability-isnt-so-easy-even-for-the-desperate-20170403
--


Click here for a list of events of interest to people in disability ministry.
UMAMD logo with the UM Cross and Flame and several disability symbols
This newsletter is generally issued weekly by the
United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities,
a caucus of the United Methodist Church.

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Visit us on the web or Facebook

Monday, April 10, 2017

Disability and the Body of Christ: 2, the broken body -- Sharon McCart

“This is my body, broken for you,” said Christ to his disciples in the upper room. They had gathered to break bread together, something they had done many times before in different places. But that night was different. He was about to be betrayed, arrested, tried, and put to death.

And so he said, very seriously, very solemnly----“This is my body, broken for you.”

What is it like to think about Jesus walking all over the countryside, up and down hills, through the wilderness and into the city, and then sitting down to a meal, declaring,
“This is my body, broken for you”?

What does it mean, that the body of Christ is broken?

Some of us understand this more deeply, more personally than the rest of us. Some of us have bodies that are sometimes called “broken.” Legs don’t work or arms don’t work, body parts may be missing or atypical. Brain may work differently. Pain may be chronic. Or there may be other differences, and all may be labelled “broken.”

Christ’s body, broken. Our bodies, broken.
This is not how we usually think of Christ’s body being broken for us.
Why is that?

We usually picture the bread, a loaf torn in half. In fact, usually the loaf is pre-cut so it requires only minimal effort to “break the bread” during the sacrament of Holy Communion. What would it be like to watch the pastor struggle and sweat a bit to tear that loaf in two? Would we run out of patience? 

Would we wonder why it is so difficult?

Would we think about the difficulty of breaking an actual body? The strength it took to drive nails through hands, through feet, cracking bones as they went? The strength that ebbed from the body, leading to death?
“This is my body, broken for you!”

Holy Week is a time when the body of Christ becomes very vivid. He sits on a donkey. He turns over tables in the Temple. He sweats blood as he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, begging God to do something to take him away from the cross. He is whipped. Crown of thorns on his head. And the horrible, cringe-making image of nails in hands and feet, hanging from a cross, being thirsty and finally a spear in his side, ensuring that he is dead. Carried to a tomb, his body limp and helpless.
Such a physical, bodily week!

Christ’s body, broken for us.

For all of us.

Those of us whose bodies are whole. Those of us whose bodies are called “broken.” All are saved by the love of Christ. All are now the Body of Christ.

The Body of Christ is still broken, for us. Broken so that there is room for all of us. Broken so the light and love and grace can both enter and then be shared even further. Broken so that all of us know that Christ has gone through pain and suffering, human like us, sharing our own pain and suffering.

“This is my body, broken for you.”

Receiving the bread during Holy Communion, we are reminded that he became human like us so that we can share in his divineness, having eternal life.

But for now, with our own broken bodies, we can know just how much he loves us, with everything he was----his own body broken. For us.

Sharon McCart, M.Div., is chair of the Disability Ministries Committee



Friday, April 7, 2017

News and notes from UMAMD, 4/7/17

Fourth Global Mission Conference of the Deaf
http://llumc.org/4gmd

Leo Yates jr ponders the story of Lazarus in a new video at the website (ASL and caption)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuiGXXAX7is

Person first language
https://www.thinkinclusive.us/why-person-first-language-doesnt-always-put-the-person-first/

Awareness: good or problematic?
http://www.rootedinrights.org/why-i-believe-cerebral-palsy-awareness-is-important/

What is missed in disability benefits
https://talkpoverty.org/2017/03/31/washington-post-missed-disability/

Review of Disability Studies 13
http://www.rdsjournal.org/index.php/journal/issue/view/V13i1/showToc

We won't send a newsletter on Good Friday.

--

Click here for a list of events of interest to people in disability ministry.
UMAMD logo with the UM Cross and Flame and several disability symbols
This newsletter is generally issued weekly by the
United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities,
a caucus of the United Methodist Church.

Click here to join this e-mail list.
Visit us on the web or Facebook.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017

News and Notes from AMD, 3/24/17

UM Disability blog: The Body of Christ
http://umdisability.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-body-of-christ-sharon-mccart.html

NYT disability series: "Cure me? No Thanks"
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/22/opinion/cure-me-no-thanks.html

For those who ask why we push for research and coverage for all:
https://www.gillettechildrens.org/blog/cerebral-palsy-diagnosis-at-80-brings-george-fedor-peace/

DisAbility Ministries newsletter
http://conta.cc/2nVcppa

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries newsletter
https://www.umdeaf.org/news/

LSA Journal: Caring Connections
http://www.lutheranservices.org/sites/default/files/images/pdfs-CaringConnections/CaringConnections%20January%202017%20Vol%2014%20Issue%201.pdf

Medicare and independent living
http://www.philly.com/philly/health/Disabled-fear-medicaid-cuts-diminish-independence-stateline-pew-anastasia-somoza.html

Medicaid Per Capita caps
http://kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/what-could-a-medicaid-per-capita-cap-mean-for-low-income-people-on-medicare/

The language more beautiful than words
http://www.bbc.com/news/disability-39302109



--

Click here for a list of events of interest to people in disability ministry.
UMAMD logo with the UM Cross and Flame and several disability symbols

This newsletter is generally issued weekly by the
United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities,
a caucus of the United Methodist Church.

Click here to join this e-mail list.
Visit us on the web or Facebook.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Body of Christ -- Sharon McCart

Disability and the Body of Christ

This morning I opened an e-mail with the subject line, “Brian Bantum on ‘The Reformation and the human body’.” I opened it because, unlike many other e-mails I get, this one intrigued me. I assumed that it would be about Disability Theology, because that’s where my mind always goes when I read “human body.” That kind of thing happens when you have a passion/obsession the way I do.

It is an interesting article, for sure, but it was not at all what I expected. Bantum made several good points, but reiterating them or responding to them is not the purpose of writing this. I was looking for one thing and found another.

So I am disappointed.

I wanted to learn the connections between Disability Theology and Reformation Theology, if I could. I am always up for learning more about the connections between Disability Theology and other kinds of theology. That didn’t happen. The bodies that Bantum has in mind are not bodies with disabilities. And I find this typical. People have their area of focus and disability is not on their screen.

This happens in theologically-oriented blogs. It happens in social justice movements working for the marginalized, where no one seems to notice that they themselves marginalize people with disabilities. It happens in denominational boards and agencies, where people talk about and embrace diversity and people with disabilities do not come up in the conversations or their lives. A company might be “An equal opportunity employer” but too many times that opportunity is not given to people with disabilities. Churches are many times no more inclusive. Even if every staff member is a different race/ethnicity/age/national origin/first language, they will be surprised if you point out that there are no disabilities represented.

Like I said, it isn’t even on their screen.

I am disappointed. Again.

access ramp leading to steps


This is not the first time, nor will it be the last. And it makes me realize that maybe I am the one to help fill the gap. I am setting a personal goal of writing a regular blog. There are other blogs out there about disability. That is not the gap I am seeing. It is the connections between the Body of Christ (aka the Church) and our bodies that have been swept under the rug.

Time for spring cleaning under that rug.


Sharon McCart, M.Div.
March 21, 2017
 Sharon McCart is chair of the Disability Ministries Committee.