The Evangelical Covenant Church seeks to network, educate, and resource Covenant churches so that persons with disabilities and their families are effectively served and fully included in the life and ministries of the Covenant and their local communities.
We believe all are welcome in the body of Christ, all are needed because we all have something to bring, and we can all learn from each other. We are stronger and better together as we live and work in community with our varied abilities, ages, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, gender, educational backgrounds, and experiences. We all have disabilities, to some extent. Some individuals are able to do things that others can’t – but we all bring something to the community. Together, we are a reflection of the kingdom of God.
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. – 1 Corinthians 12:18, 20-22
Roughly one in every five persons lives with some sort of disability. Such persons are welcomed and incorporated into the lives of many of our Covenant congregations because those congregations have taken the time and initiative to remove barriers and generate adaptations that make it possible for persons with disabilities to come to worship, take part in education, and be involved in various aspects of their congregations’ life and ministries.
Barriers and adaptations may be physical in nature, but they may also involve listening devices or larger print, offering companionship or respite care, being sensitive to allergies, or providing an interpreter. Most of all what is needed is an attitude that assumes that persons with disabilities belong in the life of the fellowship, and have abilities and gifts which can enrich the life, worship, and service of congregations, conferences, the wider denomination, and all of our ministries and activities.
Through sharing success stories and available resources, Covenant congregations can more fully incorporate persons with all abilities into the full life of the church so that individuals with disabilities, as well as their families, can be better served than they traditionally have been.