Sunday, October 17, 2010

EUROPE: ENGLAND: CONFERENCE ON THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO THE DISABLED

Ind. Cath News report:
A London conference heard last week that recognising common humanity and respecting difference are central to a Christian theology on disability. The Enabling Church: Disability, Wholeness and Christian Theology event organised by Churches for All and Premier Media Groupin London on 7 October drew over 400 delegates to hear theologians and church leaders - most with an experience of disability themselves or within their families - explore fresh thinking about disability and the place of disabled people in the church.Ethicist, author and lecturer Roy McCloughry said that recognising common humanity and respecting difference, which was part of being human, were crucial to understanding theology on disability. He said: "We are given this basis: being made in the image of God - not only in myself as a person but together between us showing the love of God in the recognition of common humanity and the respect for difference. All too often that is not the case, even in the church it may be overlooked."Human beings are interdependent by design: "Because we're people in community, people in relationship, and not individuals, we are interdependent. We need one another, we depend on one another and that is part, not of something that's gone wrong in life, but part of what it means to be God's original intended human beings."All too often in society that has not been the case. In the history of this society, there have been many shameful times in which people with various impairments have been put away, in institutions, out of sight And it's still the case in many parts of the world that that can be true."The Right Revd Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter, who gave the opening and closing addresses, said the issue was not an 'agenda of rights' but a 'mission of God.'He added: "If each and every one of us is imprinted with the image of God, there's only one label that ought to be pinned on us and that is 'Made in the image of God.' That has enormous consequences. You can know that your life will be safer in His hands."Bishop Langrish shared his own experience with disability after his younger daughter was born with Down's Syndrome: "Our beautiful daughter with her learning disabilities brought into our family an emotional openness and an emotional directness."The Revd John Naudé, chair of Churches Together, said that disabled people were not seconds or rejects but of equal worth to everybody: "We bring something into the church because of who we are."For more information see: http://www.churchesforall.org/

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