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
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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.

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
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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, 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
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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.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

AMD's Vows to Racial Justice

A Covenantal Letter by The United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities

To our black, indigenous, and siblings of color in Christ, with whom we partner in ministry:

The following covenantal letter from The United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities (AMD) comes from a place of grace that we pray inspires action across our denomination. We hope it will be received in this spirit.

The United States was built upon the backs of people of color who were slaves. Racism and racial injustices continue to be perpetuated by our denomination. For far too long, black, indigenous, and people of color have faced racism and discrimination. We acknowledge that racism has manifested through white privilege, complicity, neglect, oppression of others, and other forms of evil. We deeply regret the sins of the past and present and repent. AMD is committed to social justice and recognizes the need for commitment to racial justice because we feel both are vital.
The global call to support racial justice because of the killing of unarmed black people is spreading throughout the denomination, including by AMD. As a caucus of The United Methodist Church, members have seen injustices at all levels of the church and in society for far too long. While white privilege and individual racism are part of the problem, ending systemic racism is how we can create lasting change for the church and how we can love like Christ.

AMD also recognizes how racism intersects with discrimination against persons with disabilities, in that black, indigenous, and people of color with disabilities are much more likely to experience oppression, police brutality, sexual harassment, inequities, and poverty than white people with disabilities.

As a disability caucus, we publicly commit to racial justice and to social justice. We acknowledge that we have previously failed in the fight for racial justice, and we repent of this. AMD is making a covenant with its constituents -- people with disabilities, advocates, caregivers, ministers, others, and the wider church -- to include racial justice in our work of social justice.  We believe that God provides us with the grace of Jesus Christ to make the kin-dom a reality.

Our covenant is to the following:

  • We vow to identify and dismantle white privilege and racism in our own minds, hearts, words, and actions. We will offer our caucus members training and resources.
  • We vow to name and address racism and white privilege as a part of our caucus work. 
  • We vow to work more closely in our collaborative work with racial and ethnic caucuses of The United Methodist Church.
  • We vow to advocate for changes to policies and structures of the church that have been perpetuated by systemic racism.
  • We vow to pray with action where the Lord guides us with various gifts and work for social justice AND racial justice. 


Yours in Christ,
Association of Ministers with Disabilities
Executive Team


The United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities is a recognized caucus of the United Methodist Church and is ecumenical in membership. Visit the Association's website or Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

How do you take your coffee?


Coffee, anyone? 
coffee in cup with cream being poured in

Did you know that 83% of Americans drink coffee? Some like it black. Some take it with cream, while others use sugar. I had a friend who would use 8 teaspoons of sugar in his cup of coffee. I always asked him if he wanted some coffee with his sugar. 
I was pretty young when I started drinking coffee. I used to use sugar and cream. Now I just use cream. Some people prefer tea. I like both coffee and tea (and yes, I drink my tea with cream in it too!) When I lived in England, I used to help with their version of a “coffee fellowship” after services in the local Anglican Church. They didn’t have indoor plumbing, but they had a pump at the entry gate of the church cemetery. They would fill an electric kettle and a pitcher with the fresh well water. They would heat the water during the service and then served tea or instant coffee and “biscuits” (cookies) and we would ask, “Do you want it white or black?” (With or without milk). That question, “black or white,” still makes me think, especially right now after this last week. So, my question today is, “How do you take your coffee (or tea)?” It’s all in your perspective, isn’t it?
Looking at our spiritual lives, it’s never “black or white,” is it? Most often we navigate somewhere in between. We all need to figure out what works in our own faith. As people with disabilities, we are all too aware of prejudice, bullying, and discrimination. We know what it is like to be thought of as “less than,” because we are different. The question of being who we are, God’s children, gifted and called by God, sometimes passes us by because we are too busy hiding how God made us.
The Summons is one of those newer hymns that I thought, “It won’t catch on in my church,” but it did. The lyrics are beautiful and the melody haunting. It calls us to think. Whenever I would announce this hymn, I would say, “I hate the title, but it is a great hymn.” One day, I was interrupted by a young lady who is a savant who said, “I like the title. It means we are summoned to serve the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. What more could we ask for?” In these times of turmoil where we are polarized over issues that threaten to undo the very fabric of our faith, we would do well to remember our summons. It isn’t a question of white or black. It’s not just about racism. We need to pray for the human race. We need each other. And we need to heed God’s summons to each of us.
So how do you take your coffee or tea?

Bev Hall is pastor of Caldwell United Methodist Church in Ohio, and a member of the United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities. This article is a devotion presented to an AMD meeting on 5 June 2020. Learn more about the AMD here or follow our Facebook page.




Friday, June 5, 2020

News and notes from AMD, 5 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.
-
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.

Monday, June 1, 2020

AMD statement on George Floyd


“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” –James Baldwin.

Over the past week, we have watched and mourned as, once again, a black man’s life was unjustifiably and brutally taken from him at the hands of a police officer in the United States. George Floyd was wonderfully and beautifully made in the image of God, and what happened to him is not only unacceptable, but it has become a far too common occurrence in an increasingly divided society.  
The leaders of the Association of Ministers with Disabilities of the United Methodist Church affirm our solidarity with those who protest Floyd’s senseless death and the countless other black lives that have been lost. We, along with many who are fighting for justice, mourn the ongoing systematic racism and brutality that continue to hold an evil grip on our country.

As Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians, we are all jointly a part of the body of Christ, and when one suffers, we all suffer, and when one is honored, we can all rejoice together (1 Corinthians 12:26)

As members of the disability community, we, as the Association of Ministers with Disabilities know what it is like to be a part of a group that experiences prejudice and bigotry because of the way we look, speak, and behave. Today, we voice our support for all minority groups who face continued oppression, and we are committed to listening to, lifting up, and amplifying voices from within these communities.

As AMD member Chris Wylie said, “You cannot call for peace without also acting for justice. Injustice, racism, systemic failure, and greed is the cause of all we see. It’s up to each of us to change that.” 

on the left, a photo of 16th Street Baptist church, in the center, a portrait of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King jr, on the right text, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere... whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly