Friday, May 22, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 22 May 2020


Here are the highlights of postings this week from the Association of Ministers with Disabilities, Disability Ministries Committee, Mental Health Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries Committee, and UM Congress of the Deaf.

Many congregations we hear from are not ready to re-open, and therefore our inclusion resources remain important. This includes a list of resources from Disability Ministries, a list of ASL or captioned streams from Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries, and guidance on inclusion: Online and Virtual Gatherings: Inclusion for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Members.

As some areas "open up," we will continue to provide helpful information from reliable sources about what people who comprise the church can do to keep themselves safe and show their Christian love for others. We ask that you take the charge to love your neighbor seriously, without engaging in panic.

May 27: Places of Belonging: Using Our Heads, Hearts, and Hands to Overcome Social Divisions, a webinar conducted by Amy Julia Becker for University of Connecticut and Collaborative on Faith and Disabilities.
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AMD
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DHM/UMCD
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DMC
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MHM
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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.
This newsletter is also published on the UM Disability Blog
Visit us on the web or Facebook.

Friday, May 15, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 15 May 2020


Here are the highlights of postings this week from the Association of Ministers with Disabilities, Disability Ministries Committee, Mental Health Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries Committee, and UM Congress of the Deaf.

As some areas "open up," we will continue to provide helpful information from reliable sources about what people who comprise the church can do to keep themselves safe and show their Christian love for others. We ask that you take the charge to love your neighbor seriously, without engaging in panic. This includes a list of resources from Disability Ministries, a list of ASL or captioned streams from Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries , and guidance on inclusion: Online and Virtual Gatherings: Inclusion for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Members.

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AMD
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DHM/UMCD
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DMC
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MHM
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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.
This newsletter is also published on the UM Disability Blog
Visit us on the web or Facebook.

Friday, May 8, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 8 May 2020


Here are the highlights of postings this week from the Association of Ministers with Disabilities, Disability Ministries Committee, Mental Health Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries Committee, and UM Congress of the Deaf.

As some areas "open up," we will continue to provide helpful information from reliable sources about what people who comprise the church can do to keep themselves safe and show their Christian love for others. This includes a list of resources from Disability Ministries, a list of ASL or captioned streams from Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries , and guidance on inclusion: Online and Virtual Gatherings: Inclusion for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Members.

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AMD
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DHM/UMCD
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DMC
-
MHM
-
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.
This newsletter is also published on the UM Disability Blog
Visit us on the web or Facebook.

Friday, May 1, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 1 May 2020


Here are the highlights of postings this week from the Association of Ministers with Disabilities, Disability Ministries Committee, Mental Health Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries Committee, and UM Congress of the Deaf.

A note: we intend to provide helpful information from reliable sources about what people who comprise the church can do to keep themselves safe and show their Christian love for others. We ask that you take the charge to love your neighbor seriously, without engaging in panic.

The Disability Ministries Committee has compiled a list of resources for inclusion during the outbreak; this is updated frequently. The UM Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries has a list of ASL or captioned streams. Also, if you are streaming services, keep Deaf/HOH in mind. We have an updated blog entry that offers guidance: Online and Virtual Gatherings: Inclusion for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Members.

You may also find it helpful to follow the hashtag #‎HighRiskCovid19‬

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AMD
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DHM/UMCD
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DMC
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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.
This newsletter is also published on the UM Disability Blog
Visit us on the web or Facebook.

Friday, April 24, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 24 April 2020

Here are the highlights of postings this week from the Association of Ministers with Disabilities, Disability Ministries Committee, Mental Health Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries Committee, and UM Congress of the Deaf.

A note: we intend to provide helpful information from reliable sources about what people who comprise the church can do to keep themselves safe and show their Christian love for others. We ask that you take the charge to love your neighbor seriously, without engaging in panic.

The Disability Ministries Committee has compiled a list of resources for inclusion during the outbreak; this is updated frequently. The UM Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries has a list of ASL or captioned streams. Also, if you are streaming services, keep Deaf/HOH in mind. We have an updated blog entry that offers guidance: Online and Virtual Gatherings: Inclusion for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Members.

You may also find it helpful to follow the hashtag #‎HighRiskCovid19‬


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AMD
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DHM/UMCD
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DMC
-
MHM
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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.
This newsletter is also published on the UM Disability Blog
Visit us on the web or Facebook.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Deaf communities gather for online services

by Rev. Leo Yates, Jr.

The invitation was shared.
The prayer service was planned.
Those who joined were Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons and ASL users. They came for an online prayer service. It was an ecumenical virtual gathering in response to the COVID-19 public health concerns. Many state governors encouraged individuals and families to be in prayer due to the devastating impact.

Brenda Kelly-Frey, whose parents are also Deaf, and Rev. Leo Yates, Jr., a deacon in full connection, have been hosting virtual ecumenical prayer gatherings in the Baltimore area. An idea first thought of by Brenda, the prayer service has been drawing Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and ASL users from among the various United Methodist jurisdictions. "We're sharing encouragement and hope," says Leo.

Brenda, a member of the Catholic Church, asked Leo, "Why don't we have a prayer vigil? Can you set it up?" Both were excited to host the prayer service and felt that a need existed for a place where Deaf and hard-of-hearing peoples would be able to join and participate in a period of no in-person gatherings. Shortly thereafter the first invitation was posted on Facebook. 

slide showing the word "employment" with a scripture verse from Isaiah 41.10. Rev. Yates is in the top right-hand corner signing.

The signing prayer service provides an online community forum for those who seek to gather as a Deaf community. This provides a place which enables them to share and to request prayers for themselves, their loved ones, and for their communities.
screenshot of an on-line meeting, a light-skinned woman in the center, with other people in a side panel

Prayers were lifted up specifically for employment, medical, families, schools and colleges, leadership, mental health, churches, essential workers, and other prayer needs. In addition, participants assisted with signing Scripture verses.

Visual presentation is an important part of a Deaf service, which includes Yates' mini altar. He described that the cross had bandages to remember to pray for those who are suffering, a prescription bottle to remember to pray for those who are ill, and a packet of tissues to pray for those who are suffering or struggling right now. Along with the cross were a candle of hope, representing the light of Christ during dark times, and a Bible representing that God is still with us.
altar with a Bible, a candle, a cross with bandages on it, tissues, and a prescription bottle.

Other Deaf communities are also hosting prayer services, such as the Deaf Ministry at Lovers Lane UMC in Dallas, TX, which is led by Rev. Dr. Thomas Hudspeth. It too has people joining from all over the country. Rev. Tom's congregation also hosts weekly worship services. 

Rev. Dr. Thomas Hudspeth, signing and speaking, leads Easter service

Other Deaf congregations, such as Christ Church of the Deaf in Baltimore and Magothy Deaf Church in Pasadena, MD, also host weekly online worship and study opportunities. 

a light-skinned woman signing, inserted into a background of flowers

Along with these Deaf congregations, several Deaf ministries (hearing churches with interpreting ministry) are making their worship service accessible for their Deaf, hard-of-hearing, late-deafened, and Deafblind members. Sign language interpreter Rosalind McKelvey makes the services at Grace UMC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania accessible via Facebook Live where Deaf and hard-of-hearing members log in to watch both the interpreter and the worship service. 

a dark-skinned woman, dressed in white signs "hallelujah."

Churches have been using YouTube and similar services to record worship for some time. Recent improvements have made captioning much more feasible. Improved voice-to-text technology reduces the amount of editing required, and editing is much faster and accurate than before. Rev. Rebecca Holland of the Susquehanna Conference has been using this feature regularly after tutoring from one of the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Committee's consultants.

A Filipino-American woman delivers a sermon, the video is captioned

Also, sign language interpreters are incorporated into addresses and sermons by several bishops, such as Bishop LaTrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Pen-Del and Eastern PA Conferences, and Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Conference. These help model accessibility and inclusion for the wider church.

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling on left, sign language interpreter on the right


Because ASL is a visual language, in-person gatherings are ideal, and historically a cultural norm for persons who are a part of the Deaf community. However, virtual gatherings are similar to the video calls Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons often do with one another on their video phones--it's just now that they are on a larger scale. Virtual gatherings are helping ALL of us to keep connected.

Similar to the Deaf online services, the United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities (AMD) also hosts bi-weekly check-in calls via Zoom. This group includes ministers with disabilities (not necessarily clergy) and advocates. If you minister with a disability, and need community, contact Rev. Hank Jenkins (hank.jenkins@gmail.com) to join.

For information about including everyone in your meetings, read our recent blog post. For more information on how to make your online services accessible, contact the committee by e-mail at umdeaf@gmail.com or Rev. Yates at RevYates@eumclaurel.org or click here to learn more. To explore other accessible virtual services, visit the United Methodist Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Committee's Ministry Directory.

Friday, April 17, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 17 April 2020


Here are the highlights of postings this week from the Association of Ministers with Disabilities, Disability Ministries Committee, Mental Health Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries Committee, and UM Congress of the Deaf.

A note: we intend to provide helpful information from reliable sources about what people who comprise the church can do to keep themselves safe and show their Christian love for others. We ask that you take the charge to love your neighbor seriously, without engaging in panic.

The AMD will continue to share pastoral care aids, prayers and liturgy from our members, tuned to the needs of our times.

The Disability Ministries Committee has compiled a list of resources for inclusion during the outbreak; this is updated frequently.

Please check the UM Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries for a list of ASL or captioned streams. Also, if you are streaming services, keep Deaf/HOH in mind. We have an updated blog entry that offers guidance: Online and Virtual Gatherings: Inclusion for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Members.

You may also find it helpful to follow the hashtag #‎HighRiskCovid19‬
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National Disability Covid-19 Healthcare Support and Advocacy Hotline
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AMD
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DHM/UMCD
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DMC
-
MHM
-
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.
This newsletter is also published on the UM Disability Blog
Visit us on the web or Facebook.

Friday, April 10, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 10 April 2020


Here are the highlights of postings this week from the Association of Ministers with Disabilities, Disability Ministries Committee, Mental Health Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries Committee, and UM Congress of the Deaf.

A note: we intend to provide helpful information from reliable sources about what people who comprise the church can do to keep themselves safe and show their Christian love for others. We ask that you take the charge to love your neighbor seriously, without engaging in panic.

The AMD will continue to share pastoral care aids, prayers and liturgy from our members, tuned to the needs of our times.

The Disability Ministries Committee has compiled a list of resources for inclusion during the outbreak; this is updated frequently.

Please check the UM Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Ministries for a list of ASL or captioned streams. Also, if you are streaming services, keep Deaf/HOH in mind. We have an updated blog entry that offers guidance: Online and Virtual Gatherings: Inclusion for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Members.

You may also find it helpful to follow the hashtag #‎HighRiskCovid19‬

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National Disability Covid-19 Healthcare Support and Advocacy Hotline
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AMD
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DHM/UMCD
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DMC
-
MHM
-
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.
This newsletter is also published on the UM Disability Blog
Visit us on the web or Facebook.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Love your (disabled) neighbor as yourself -- Sara Martin

I’ve seen a lot of conversation circling on social media that is both ageist and ableist.  It is important to recognize the Divine image reflected within each person. Every person has sacred, intrinsic worth, and a valued part of our human community. Turning to the Gospels, we find that whatever we do for another, we do for Jesus.In this time of uncertainty, we must  seek to be gracious and compassionate. One way we can do that is through active listening, and social distancing. “For  I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” ( Matthew 25:35-40 NRSV)

For many in the disability community, there is a heightened awareness about social distancing, medical isolation, and the danger of community spread illness. It is a matter of life and death for immunocompromised and chronically ill persons. Our community worries about whether there will be access to health care, medication, therapy services, and life sustaining medical supplies. Disabled and chronically people will be disproportionately affected by the closure of schools, work places, businesses, and delivery services. The closure of public spaces brings with it  a loss of routine and structure that many disabled people require to flourish. It may mean loss of social interactions with key people like therapists, health care providers, caregivers, delivery services, co-workers, classmates and friends. As public schools, universities and daycares close, disabled students may not receive their accommodations or therapy services. Yes, it is important to talk about disability rights in the middle of a global pandemic. It won’t just be Covid-19 that devastates the lives of disabled people, but the loss of jobs, structure, education, health care, routine, and essential resources. The life experience of persons with disabilities is rarely considered by able bodied, neurotypical persons. Perhaps this period of the world turned upside down may allow us to pull back the veil, and have much needed conversations. 

Prior to Covid-19, disabled persons asked to work from home or take classes remotely. They were told it is not possible to grant such accommodations. It is disappointing to see accommodations fought for years, widely available overnight. If the accommodations are required for a small group of people, then it is too expensive, impossible or time consuming. Yet when the entire public requires it, suddenly it is possible. It reveals to us, accessibility is possible, but is often denied to our community. Churches, workplaces, schools, and community groups are stepping up to meet online. Yes, Church, you are capable of creative, accessible worship. I just wish a global pandemic isn’t what made you take accessible virtual and physical spaces seriously. I hope when this global pandemic ends, we will continue to offer online communities. There is a great need for the human community to exist both in person and digitally. It allows us to connect with a vast audience of people. 

For those not familiar with the disability community, here are some ways you can love your disabled neighbor as yourself.
1.      Stay home if you can.
2.      Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
3.      Practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet apart.
4.      Don’t hoard hand sanitizer, distilled water, alcohol prep pads, or masks.
5.      Buy what you need and leave enough for someone else.
6.     Please take Covid-19 seriously, it will devastate our community, many of whom cannot social distance, reach the sink to wash their hands or require the assistance of home health workers.

There is no guide book for these unprecedented times we find ourselves in. We have to take things hour by hour as our lives rapidly change. But we can continue to find our hope found in Jesus who often imagined a better world. In the first century Mediterranean world Jesus lived in, illness, disease and death were common. In fact, you can find many passages in the Hebrew Bible about community health. There was a concern for the entire wellness of a community, not just individual wellness. In our 21st century world, I think many have lost a sense of consciousness about communal concern. Our thinking cannot be self-centered, but Christ centered. Jesus commands us to love God with all of our mind, heart, and strength. I encourage you to find a way to be connected with a faith community whether through live streaming, podcasts, Zoom, or virtual small groups. The second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. The best thing we can do is stay home, and practice good hygiene. Flatten the curve, the people you love in your life will thank you. Practicing social distancing is a radical act of loving your neighbor as yourself.
a younger, light-skinned woman with dark hair, wearing a pastoral robe

My name is Sara Martin. I am currently a ministry candidate in the United Methodist Church as I pursue ordination as an Elder. I will attend seminary at St. Paul School of Theology in the fall.  If you’re interested in talking theology, pop culture, or disability studies, hit me up. I enjoy being active on social media and participating in online conversations.