Friday, July 31, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 31 July 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.

Whether a congregation remains closed, open limited or fully, our list of inclusion resources is still important. This includes materials from Disability Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries, and Mental Health Ministries, and webinars and similar events that are announced on short notice. In all of these situations, we ask that you show Christian love for others: stay aware of safety and be aware of signs of trauma or other health concerns, and follow conference recommendations.
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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.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Navigating Deaf Ministries During a Pandemic

Navigating Deaf Ministries During a Pandemic
By Rev. Leo Yates, Jr.

Changing requirements in maintaining and expanding our faith communities comes in waves for church leaders. Learning through a lot of trial and error, best practices have emerged to support churches during the COVID-19 pandemic. One aspect of this is found in navigating Deaf ministries, which includes diverse aspects such as accessibility, programming, and dynamic worship for Deaf, hard-of-hearing, late-deafened, and Deafblind persons and their families.

A recent webinar hosted by three presenters partly addressed these ideas. Esther Choi, a Deaf Korean-American, explained how COVID-19 has hit the Deaf community hard, in particular, Deafblind persons who often rely on proximity and touch. Masks were touched on as most Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons rely on facial expressions, or, for some, lip-reading (here's a vendor list for clear masks). Choi emphasized the need to continue reaching out to our Deaf siblings. She was particularly pleased how her Deaf congregation at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church has been navigating virtual services and alternative programming. 
 
Esther Choi


Another webinar presenter, Rosalind McKelvey, an African-American sign language interpreter and Deaf ministry coordinator at Grace United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, PA encouraged webinar viewers to make further considerations when exploring inclusion of Deaf and hard of hearing persons. Briefly discussed were some of the signs within the Deaf community and among interpreters related to recent uprisings from the death of George Floyd. It is clear that Black Deaf communities have been impacted by racial tensions and the need for social change.  Through creativity and commitment, McKelvey shared about the weekly virtual camp her church had recently hosted. It brought persons together, young and old, to participate and be in community. 

 
 Zoom screenshot of participants


Rev. Leo Yates, a deacon serving in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, was the third presenter. He shared ideas about how to promote and expand Deaf ministries while emphasizing the need for accessible virtual services and programming. For instance, the use of captioning, alternative video platforms like Google Meet, which already has a captioning feature, along with social media blasts of promoting were explained. Most importantly, the need for prayer is seen as vital. Participants were encouraged to learn about the Deaf community’s history and struggles, including the Black Deaf history, white Deaf history, and Latinx Deaf perspectives.

It was clear in Jesus’ time when the father of John the Baptist, Zechariah, was included and provided accommodations during the naming ceremony (Luke 1:59-63), that we should do the same today. New and creative ways were mentioned, such as the creation of videos (such as this one on passing the peace) by Karen Miller, a Deaf Certified Lay Servant (CLS), and Carol Stevens, a CLS and a long-time sign language interpreter, in the Pen-Del Annual Conference. Emmanuel UMC in Laurel, MD is hosting a church cluster virtual sign language class starting in September to raise Deaf awareness and accessibility where more outreach can be made by various faith communities.

Creativity is the sky! The alternative is simply audism and that’s not the Good News we wish to share. Deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and Deafblind persons and their families need hope like the rest of us during times such as these.

* Rev. Yates can be reached at RevYates@eumclaurel.org to discuss Deaf ministry support. 
A one-page document with Deaf ministry ideas and resources can be found here.
More information about Deaf ministries can be found at the UM Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-hearing website.


Friday, July 24, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 24 July 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.

Whether a congregation remains closed, open limited or fully, our list of inclusion resources is still important. This includes materials from Disability Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries, and Mental Health Ministries, and  webinars and similar events that are often announced on short notice. In all of these situations, we ask that you show Christian love for others: stay aware of safety and be aware of signs of trauma or other health concerns, and follow conference recommendations.
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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.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Face masks

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to widespread use of face masks. However, these masks are problematic for some people: one cannot lip read through the typical mask. Those with autism, claustrophobia, or related conditions often find it difficult to tolerate a mask. This list compiles the most useful articles we've found for adapting, from visible masks, to alternative attachment methods, and includes related topics. 

(This item will be updated as needed; updated 29 July 2020, first published 20 July 2020. Suggestions are welcome.)

Southeast ADA Center,

Job Accommodation Network,


Episcopal Conference for the Deaf, 

Facebook "My Mind": mask loop attachment to cap (July 2020)

Delta Faucet: ear saver loop (July 2020)

Indiana Association of the Deaf,

MIT Technology Review: The pandemic made life harder for deaf people. The solutions could benefit everyone. (May 2020)

Hearing Like Me: Face masks in school: Tips for navigating a new classroom (note: also useful for business and church settings) (June 2020)


NIH, National Institute on Deafness: Cloth face coverings and distancing pose communication challenges for many (July 2020)



CSULB: Covid-19 and the Deaf community (captioned video) (May 2020)



Friday, July 17, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 17 July 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:

Whether a congregation remains closed, open limited or fully, our list of inclusion resources is still important. This includes materials from Disability Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries, and Mental Health Ministries. In all of these situations, we ask that you show Christian love for others: stay aware of safety and be aware of signs of trauma or other health concerns, and follow conference recommendations.
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-
AMD
-
DHM/UMCD
-
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, July 10, 2020

Being Healers in our Community

Being Healers in our Community:
Celebrating 30 years of the
Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26th will mark the 30th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In order to help our churches celebrate this historic piece of civil rights legislation, the Association of Ministers with Disabilities has put together a Worship Planning Kit which includes an opening prayer, call-to-worship and sermon outline, as well as important facts about the ADA.

For many of us who identify as disabled, the ADA has empowered us to live fuller lives and pursue numerous life callings. This includes those of us who are called into ministry.

We encourage you to use these worship resources to help our congregations to continue living into the dream of the ADA by welcoming and inviting people with disabilities into our lives and by being "Healers in our Community."

Download MS Word document

News and notes from AMD, 10 July 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:

Whether a congregation remains closed, open limited or fully, our list of inclusion resources is still important. This includes materials from Disability Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries, and Mental Health Ministries. In all of these situations, we ask that you show Christian love for others: stay aware of safety and be aware of signs of trauma or other health concerns, and follow conference recommendations.
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-
AMD
-
DHM/UMCD
-
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, July 8, 2020

AMD statement on reopening churches

As countries around the world continue to struggle with increasing numbers of individuals being infected with coronavirus, we, the United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities, call on our conference leaders to be mindful of the health concerns of our United Methodist clergy, local-licensed pastors, and lay staff members of conferences and local congregations, specifically those who may be living with a disability that makes them particularly vulnerable to this virus. Many conferences have released guidelines for conferences to begin reopening for in-person worship services as well as mission, ministry, and church events. However, many of these guidelines lack any particular advice or support for clergy or staff members who, individually, do not feel safe returning due to their own health concerns or the health of a member of their household.

We recognize that, in many cases, the decision to return to in-person meetings is subject to the discretion of the appointed clergy; however, we also recognize that many clergy feel pressure from congregation members who are eager to return to their places of worship. Many times, clergy or staff members may feel they have no choice but to acquiesce to those who desire to be back in our church buildings. We believe it is important for bishops and cabinet members to update guidelines and offer conference support for ministers who do not feel safe returning to in-person activities.

Our Social Principles state the UMC “recognizes and affirms the full humanity and personhood of individuals with mental, physical, developmental, neurological and psychological conditions or disabilities as full members of the family of God.” (BOD ¶162.I) One way our leaders can recognize this humanity is by supporting those church leaders with disabilities in their desire to stay safe and avoid the risks associated with COVID-19.

Yours in Christ,
Association of Ministers with Disabilities
Executive Team

Friday, July 3, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 3 July 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.

Whether a congregation remains closed, open limited or fully, our list of inclusion resources is still important. This includes materials from Disability Ministries, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries, and Mental Health Ministries. In all of these situations, we ask that you show Christian love for others: stay aware of safety and be aware of signs of trauma or other health concerns, and follow conference recommendations.
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GCORR
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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.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Living with Love and Covid-19


I became infected with Covid-19 in the middle of March 2020. I don’t know where--I had been to traveling, and work both at a church and senior care facility.  This happened before there were any public health alerts or protection practices became widespread.

My symptoms lasted for weeks, and they lingered for even longer after the initial intensity of those weeks. I could not be hospitalized because of local restrictions, and tests were not yet available.  Now, three full months since I began showing symptoms, I am still not back to 100%. I wrote a blog post, here, that chronicled the day-to-day symptoms and some of the feelings associated with my illness. While I had some horrible physical symptoms, one of the hardest things to deal with was how alienating this illness is.

When I was at my sickest, I felt completely alone. I was home, but my husband couldn’t stay in the same room as me. He would bring me food and leave. For his own safety, he needed to keep his distance. This virus is that bad. My mother had the virus at the same time, and she was similarly alienated in a hospital room. The full coverage of the doctors’ and nurses’ PPE further contributed to her otherness in the room.

In other times of illness, I’ve relied on the comfort of visiting family or friends and their gifts of time, conversation, and sometimes food. Yet this was different. I had family members who would regularly check in and a few friends here and there, but the majority of my community was afraid of me. The people where I work were most concerned with when I would be able to return. Colleagues only asked of my health when they were discussing work. They exchanged pleasantries as you would with a stranger. I learned that many people were not truly interested in me and my health. Rather, they saw me being sick as something that made their lives harder. They recognized that we’re all interconnected but not in a loving way. They had more work since I could not be at work. My wellbeing didn’t matter as much as my being in their way.

I have lived with severe depression and anxiety since childhood, and I know the alienating power that mental illness can have on me. I know when I am manipulating reality and making myself dwell in unhealthy thoughts or environments, but this was not that. I was pushed into a place of loneliness by my colleagues and folks who, I’m sure, thought they were trying their friendly best.

In a twisted way, my loneliness was something I had in common with millions of people. So many people have been alienated because of their exposure to and experience of COVID-19. It will be full-time work to make sure people who have been alienated are loved and supported. From this moment forward, this work must be understood as part of the Christian response of love to persons suffering in this illness. Loneliness in COVID-19 is different. This is the worst illness I have ever experienced, and the loneliness compounded my thoughts of alienation and death.

Even in my recovery, there are many folks who have continued to ignore me. Pandemic response has been and is a difficult and stressful time for many, but it is especially so for those who are experiencing this virus firsthand. Please, check in on your loved ones. Please, spread love to all you encounter. Please send kind words or food or flowers. Know that you are loved so that you might love, so that you might fill the world in God’s restoring creativity. Live into your relationships with one another and the whole world in God’s love, that no one might be alienated or forgotten.

Corrie Hermans-Webster is a United Methodist pastor in Boston, and is passionate about making the church a more inclusive and accessible place for everyone. She serves as a minister of music and a dementia practitioner. 


Friday, June 26, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 26 June 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.

Whether a congregation remains closed, open limited or fully, 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. In all of these situations, we ask that you show Christian love for others: stay aware of safety and be aware of signs of trauma or other health concerns, and follow conference recommendations.

We aren't sure if there will be a list next week, if not, watch for one on 10 July.
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AMD
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DHM/UMCD
-
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, June 19, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 19 June 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.

Whether a congregation remains closed, open limited or fully, 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. In all of these situations, we ask that you show Christian love for others: stay aware of safety and be aware of signs of trauma or other health concerns, and follow conference recommendations.
-
GCORR
-
AMD
-
DHM/UMCD
-
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, June 12, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 12 June 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.

Whether a congregation remains closed, open limited or fully, 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. In all of these situations, we ask that you show Christian love for others: stay aware of safety and be aware of signs of trauma or other health concerns, and follow conference recommendations.

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GCORR Real Talk: The General Commission on Religion and Race is continuing its Real Talk Series. The next video conversation is this Tuesday, June 16th at 3pm Eastern: Impact of Covid-19 on People with Disabilities. This will be a conversation with two faith leaders with disabilities (one is Deaf and signs) about how they've been impacted by COVID-19 with some insights to the wider community.
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AMD
-
DHM/UMCD
-
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.