Friday, May 19, 2017

News and Notes from AMD, 5/19/17

UM Disability blog: DMC Faith Development Curriculum released
http://umdisability.blogspot.com/2017/05/faith-development-curriculum-released.html

Creating a culture of accessibility (in a specific tech product, but the principles transfer)
https://blogs.dropbox.com/tech/2017/04/creating-a-culture-of-accessibility/

Is the "yes you can" mentality always best?
http://disabilityhorizons.com/2017/05/is-the-yes-you-can-mentality-always-best/

Clergy mental health
https://medium.com/christian-citizen/clergy-mental-health-30b1f960dac

Out of the shadows (suicide prevention)
https://appalachianpreacher.com/2017/05/13/out-of-the-shadows-the-valley-of-death/

Updated resources on accessible emergency communications
http://www.wirelessrerc.gatech.edu/updated-resources-accessible-emergency-communications
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Click here for a list of events of interest to people in disability ministry.
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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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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Faith Development Curriculum Released

A new faith development curriculum is now available from the Disability Ministries Committee of the United Methodist Church. In twelve lessons, with guidance materials, the lessons are suitable for confirmation classes or general church life classes with teens and adults who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. The lessons can also supplement other classes. Sharon McCart, chair of the committee, states that "barriers to faith development are too often found in complicated language and demanding lessons. This curriculum teaches the concepts of our faith in a way that is adaptable enough for a wide range of ability." 

The lessons include a variety of activities, such as singing, videos, Bible passages, prayer, discussion, and hands-on activities. Although presented in a suggested order for confirmation, each lesson is independent and can be used in sequence, or ordered as needed, or used alone.


The lessons were developed by a team of writers, including Rev. Donna Draeger, Rev. Karen Evenson, Rev. Debbie Hills, Gail Hoffman, Rev. Amanda Larsen, Naomi Mitchum, and Debby Newman. Costs are funded by the General Board of Global Missions. 

The materials may be found at the committee's web site: https://www.umdisabilityministries.org/curriculum/

Faith Development, a series of four vines progressively growing larger, set over the words

Monday, May 8, 2017

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

by Rev. Leo Yates, Jr.

May is known for many observances, but it is also known for Mental Health Awareness Month. In our churches, we often feed the souls of our congregants and visitors, which includes speaking to the whole person: mind, body, and spirit, and this month can reach all of these.

A Huffington Post article from August 2015 lists some eye-opening statistics on mental illness:

  • Half of all adults will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14.
  • One in five children will have a mental illness by age 18.
  • Ninety percent of people who die by suicide also had mental illness.

The Commission on Disability Concerns of the Baltimore-Washington Conference recommends that we take the time to raise awareness about mental health. There's no doubt that some in your congregation are or have experienced mental health issues. Part of raising awareness is by acknowledging the struggles folks may be going through (read some of the Psalms written by King David). Also, talking about mental health helps to remove some of the stigma associated with mental illness. In addition, it helps show that they are not alone and others are going through their own struggles too. Speaking about mental health usually comes from a vulnerable place and it takes some risk to even share our personal struggles; however, it is healing in that it helps to reduce or remove any shame associated with it, while lifting up this important subject.

Some ways to observe Mental Health Awareness Month include:

  • Having special prayers. (Here are some resources.)
  • Include some bulletin inserts. (Here are some resources.)
  • Preach one Sunday on one of King David's Psalms or about Jesus' grief when Lazarus died. The point is to normalize mental health, validate what people go through, and see God's love and grace during our struggles.
  • Invite a speaker to share during coffee hour. Topics include: addiction recovery, depression and/or anxiety, dementia, and grief. The speaker can be an expert or give a testimony. Take up a special offering and donate it to a mental health type ministry or charity.
  • Post mental health-related information on the church bulletin board; include suicide prevention information.
  • If you have a resource table, include educational pamphlets or brochures on depression, grief, anxiety, dementia, addiction, suicide prevention, community resources, and so on. (Here are some resources.)
  • Post or link an article or two about mental health on the church website.(Here are some resources.) Or link to the UM Committee on Disability Ministries and Mental Health Ministries.
  • Show a movie on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, such as Silver Linings Playbook.
  • Read an article about mental health at a youth group gathering, UMW meeting, and/or at an adult Sunday School class. Mention it to parents before reading an article at a youth group. (Here are some resources.)
  • Pray about starting a mental health ministry. (Here is a resource to get you started.)

For more ideas, go to www.mentalhealthministries.net.

As a person who has struggled with anxiety off and on during my life, I know firsthand the importance of maintaining my mental health. Often, we do not want others to know, but it's important we know we are loved, have a place we belong, and are not judged (or criticized) for our struggles. Isolation is often what occurs and we have an opportunity this month to break this trend.

This month, take a Sunday and observe Mental Health Awareness Month. You'll make a difference in someone's or some family's life.

Reference
Gregg-Schroeder, S. (2017). Mental Health Ministries. Retrieved from www.mentalhealthministries.net.

Rev. Leo Yates, Jr. is a provisional deacon serving in the Baltimore-Washington Conference. He is also a licensed clinical professional counselor in the state of Maryland.

Friday, May 5, 2017

News and notes from AMD, 5/5/17

As we approach annual conference season, a reminder about the amendment to Article 4:
http://umdisability.blogspot.com/2017/02/umc-article-4-amendment.html

Most housing discrimination problems are related to disability:
https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/housing-discrimination-us-report

May is Mental Health Month. MHA resources:
http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

Over the counter hearing aids
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/04/24/524946910/is-it-time-for-hearing-aids-to-be-sold-over-the-counter

Tapping the power of neurodiversity
https://blog.dol.gov/2017/04/26/all-about-skills-tapping-power-neurodiversity

Updated information: 4th Global Missions Conference of the Deaf
https://www.umcd.org/newsnat/1708.html
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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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Friday, April 28, 2017

News and Notes from AMD, 4/28/17

Early bird registration for the 4th Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf ends soon! $325 for four days, three nights and meals! Life changing event! Go to llumc.org/4gmd today!

Civil rights, ADA, and the effects of recent and proposed changes:
http://progressive.org/dispatches/how-to-civil-rights-compliance-with-a-27-year-grace-period/

New efforts at healthcare "reform"
http://fvindiana.blogspot.com/2017/04/new-efforts-to-cut-medicaid-and-repeal.html

A book that may interest some of our members:
https://networks.h-net.org/node/4189/reviews/175984/buckingham-newman-writing-disability-critical-history

How language often isolates people with disabilities:
https://www.thinkinclusive.us/the-real-problem-with-disability-is-how-we-think-about-it/

We have long encouraged thought about the role of God in design:
https://www.hearinglikeme.com/the-hottest-hearing-aid-trend-is-a-perfect-fit-for-your-ear/

This effort is also a reminder that the healing stories of the gospels include community restoration and inclusion:
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/878568

Pastors need care, too:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/04/21/who-pastors-the-pastor-even-ministers-suffer-from-suicidal-thoughts/?utm_term=.bd22d7059bff

GBCS on healthcare "reform":
Congress was unable to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) because most of them believed it would harm people they represent.

The AHCA would leave 24 million people without health coverage, end Medicaid expansion, and cut Medicaid by $840 billion over 10 years hurting the most vulnerable among us.

The new changes worsen the bill by giving states the ability to eliminate key protections for people with pre-existing conditions, requirements to cover essential healthcare (e.g. pregnancy visits), and allow insurance companies to set lifetime caps and annual limits. A lifetime cap, for example, could limit services people who are recovering from addiction — a journey that is hard fought requiring consistent support.

As United Methodists, we are seeking improvements to current healthcare laws that increase access to affordable, quality healthcare for all. This legislation is moving in the wrong direction.

Call your Representative TODAY and urge them to Vote No.
Guide: https://umc-gbcs.org/content/articles/Health_Care_Talking_Points__Call_instructions.pdf


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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.