Dear Friends and Colleagues,
For many of you who are leading congregations and other groups within the church, this has been a stressful and anxious period. I pray that you are all finding time for self-care. While we are all called to care for the people around us, we surely cannot care for others unless we are caring for ourselves. This is especially true for those of us who live with disabilities that require us to be even more aware of our health during this turbulent time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed daily life for people around the world, affecting where we can go, what we can do, and whom we can be around. As a society, it is indeed important for us to embrace social distancing as a way to protect and show love to our neighbors and ensure that this virus does not continue to spread beyond our ability to control it.
In this time of uncertainty and social imbalance, I cannot help but think of how people with disabilities are all too familiar with social isolation, physical limitations and day-to-day uncertainty. Many people with disabilities live not knowing where we can go and what social amenities are available to us, and all too often, staying home is our only option. This new way of life, which the rest of society is struggling to come to terms with, has been a daily reality for many people with disabilities for most of our lives.
With that being said, I write to you — ministers with disabilities — to say that this challenging situation presents an opportunity to model, out of our experiences, the love and compassion Jesus calls all of his disciples to share. As we move forward, I encourage all of you who are ministers or leaders with disabilities to identify ways you can share your knowledge and experience with our congregations and denominations about the importance of caring for those around us.
People with disabilities know the importance of having people around us who offer love and care during challenging times. This can be more difficult in a time of social distancing. However, we know the importance of checking on those we love and who are vulnerable, we know the importance of people who understand our fears and anxieties, and we know the importance of human connection (even virtually).
If you have sermons, devotions, or blogs you are creating during this time, please share those with Tim Vermande at email@example.com so we can share them on the AMD Facebook page. Showcasing the work of people with disabilities is important during this time so that our voices and thoughts are heard. We have experiences and perspectives that are necessary during this time, and I encourage you to share them.
Lastly, if you are feeling anxious and isolated, please feel free to message or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to spend time talking and praying with anyone who needs it.
Grace and Peace
Rev. Hank Jenkins
Rev. Jonathan Campbell