(Cross-posted to ‘Stories from the Garden’)
Where are the stories of the disabled people of God?
There’s a silence in the churches. Disabled Christians do not get to tell our own stories. If our stories are told at all, it is by others, twisted and misremembered, till our names are forgotten. Powerful voices speak of realities that only we have lived. Their shouts drown us out. We are not silent; we are silenced. Among a great cloud of disabled witnesses, each of us is left thinking, “I’m the only one.”
Listen harder. Can you hear us? We have not been forgotten; our names are written on God’s heart. And we are beginning to tell our own stories.
It was a privilege to tell a story at the 2020 disability and church conference, at about this time last year. That year’s conference was all about stories, on the theme of ‘Telling Encounters.’ I spoke about my search for stories of people like me. As we get ready for this year’s conference, I thought you might like to hear it.
There are a few tickets still available for this year’s conference—why don’t you join us, on Saturday 16th October 2020? The Living Edge conferences on disability and church are a partnership between St Martin-in-the-Fields Church and Inclusive Church. Uniquely, these events are organised by disabled Christians, for disabled Christians. I’ve been involved since the first one, in 2012, and I can’t wait to join them this weekend for the tenth annual conference. A vibrant disabled community has grown up around these gatherings, and I’m proud to be a part of it.