“We are all affected by either visible or invisible disabilities; there are physical, intellectual, learning, mental health, chronic, social and aging disabilities that will affect every human being” It is time we embrace everyone equally regardless of our level of ability…We are commanded to love one another and the reality has been for far, far to long in far to many churches that people with disabilities are not welcomed, they may be there but they are not really part of the community and so when you go to a church like this whose focus is on people who have a whole range of disabilities, from physical disabilities to intellectual disabilities, to everything imaginable, it is really inspiring…. I think one of the roles the church can play is by talking about it in the first place, its an opportunity for those who are in a position of leadership, who are members of the church to look at their own staffing and say if 15% or 16% of the population of Ontario have a disability what percentage of my staff do and if it’s not something approaching 16% you are not realistically representing the culture in what it is you do as a business”.
Remarks by Lieutnant Governor of Ontario, The Honorable David C. Onley at Abilities Ministry Event
“People with disabilities have taught me more about the gospel and even about human relations than all the great psychological and philosophical concepts; or rather they have allowed me to catch a glimpse of what should be true theology, true philosophy and true psychology, for this am truly grateful to them. More than this, I have discovered Jesus in them, Jesus radiating goodness, Jesus the mirror of purity, Jesus meek and humble, and sometimes Jesus suffering and in agony… truly strength lies in weakness... So- called "normal" men often hide their real selves behind a wall of timidity, hardness, and a certain hypocrisy and quest for social esteem. They are almost afraid to show themselves as they are. The mentally handicapped are not like this. Those fortunate enough to know them when they live in a happy atmosphere where they can develop to their full potential, have experienced the gentleness and confidence expressed by their outstretched hands. The defective has nothing to lose. He can show himself as he is...The affectionate and delicate gesture of a so-called "subnormal" man has more value before God and for the world than great human acts carried out with a desire for power and domination..."
"The strangest thing about disabled people is that we usually think, feel and react like 'normal' people, yet people expect us to react differently....I believe in God and I believe that he has created me for some purpose. I am on earth to fulfill that purpose, whatever it may be. I am part of the Kingdom and I have a task to do. If I don't do it, then there will be something missing in the Kingdom. God is what keeps me going, he's my strength and I know that nothing can overcome me. I know where my heart is and where my priorities lie."
Joan Green (Joan was afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis when she was three years old)
"I'm 95% disabled, with only a little use of my right hand and that's all. I need someone to help me take a bath because I can't even wash and dry myself, I'm so handicapped. For a long time I was miserable about my condition, but now I'm getting used to it. I try my best to be happy all the time. Lately, I've tried to train myself to lead a normal life, but the lack of money makes things very difficult. My wife does not work steady and I have a family of 5 to support. I can't even afford to buy an ice cream cone for my kids. That really hurts. We can't go anywhere like normal people can. I'd like to have a fund for transportation so that I could just ride around, just to get out of the house. Right now I just stay in year round. Over the years I've had a lot of help from people. It used to be that I couldn't get along with anybody. It's hard to suffer, especially when you think about it. But about twelve years ago I became a Christian, a reborn Christian, and that makes the big difference. Now I've changed for the best"
Julius Hager (Julius contracted polio in 1953 at the age of 24)
"The worst treatment always results when people don't give me a choice. If I go out to a restaurant, I'm automatically put where they want me, not where I might choose to be. If I go out to a store, the clerk has to do everything, instead of asking me if I need assistance. There are always some people who don't want me to lead a normal life."
Bill Selkirk (Bill became a quadraplegic as a result of a card accident in 1973)
"It's difficult to get people to treat us like average human beings. You know there are lot of folks called "normal" who act differently and no one says anything. But if a handicapped person acts differently, they say something. We get put down because of it."
Barb Goode (Barb was born with a developmental disability)
"Canada is basically a materialistic society which is very hung up with money and with visual beauty. Persons with a physical disability are automatically excluded from so-called "normal" activities simply because we are visibly different from other people. And because we are physically different, it is assumed that this changes us as human beings.....We need to change an attitude of a culture that is at least 300 years old, and here I'am talking about the Industrial Revolution. It's based on a totally materialistic concept that the world, and especially human society is nothing but a big machine....This whole cultural attitude of conquering nature, conquering our bodies, conquering our environment is a poor and simple view of nature, society and mankind.....The only way to fight prejudice is through compete integration."
Len Seaby (Len was born without any arms)
'It is sad when we need to get permission to invite people with disabilities to church"
The quotes below are from Jaime Castro and they are taken from prayers, conferences and speaking engagements
"I sometimes get very emotional because I feel like a voice crying in the wilderness, trying to give a voice to those that have no voice; and than our precious Lord comes to me and whispers, "Don't worry and don't get discouraged my son because when people misunderstand or reject you, they are really rejecting the lame, blind, deaf, poor and developmentally disabled which is equivalent to rejecting God himself; therefore keep being faithful in honoring the "least among you as the greatest in my kingdom' and I will reward you." A Prayer
"When we favor the intellectually and physically strong over the weak in the church, we in effect have reversed the gospel of Christ because He teaches us to honor the least among us as the greatest".
"The church should be leading the way in providing equal opportunities for people with disabilities and not WalMart, McDonald's and Tim Hortons."
"Segregation should never be an option in the church as it is a form of discrimination which is against the law; therefore the church has a legal, moral and Biblical responsibility and obligation to make its worship services welcoming and accommodating towards all people"
"Over half the Bible is dedicated to disability related issues. There are 12 well known Bible personality with visible disabilities which were used of God to transform their world. The 26 healings from Jesus are spread over 20 passages which profile people with over 8 different kinds of disabilities. The Apostle Paul's "thorn in the flesh" is believed to have been some form of vision or pain related disability. Disability theologians believe that Christ would of acquired serious physical and brain related disabilities from the injuries he endured during the multiple blows he took to the body and head during his thrashing. After Christ resurrection he appeared to his disciples with visible holes in his side and hands which confirm the nature of his physical injuries and disabilities"
"Disability related ministries should be a priority as every area of our life, society and church is affected with disabilities. Experts say that every human being will be affected with either visible or invisible disabilities within their life time. Over half of our youth, middle age population and seniors are being affected with either, learning, ADD, ADHD, mental health (depression), vision, hearing, injury, fatigue, allergy, asthma, immune, pain and aging related disabilities.The definition of disabilities represents everyone. The word "disability" is defined as a "disadvantage or deficiency or as something that hinders, limits or incapacitates. Some disability theologians believe that sin is the greatest disability of all."
"The Hollywood Mentality of excellence and performance at the expense of love, equality and inclusion has no place in the church as God is not impressed with the outward appearance but with the heart. People with intellectual disabilities have been called people of the heart or people of love because of their unconditional acceptance of all people. They teach us that God's presence and power is fully revealed when we become completely dependent on God through our human weaknesses and not our strengths".