(Firstly, i’m sorry if any of you think “Oh, she’s off on the Disability bandwagon again”! But, being disabled, having a certain amount of intelligence and maybe too much sensitivity, these things affect me and i daresay perhaps, others in the same position).
I have been a member of my church since 2007. I was baptized in 2008 which was a really important milestone in my life and strengthened my faith and closeness to God more than any other experience in my turbulent life has done. But i won’t bang on about religion. This is just my experience of being part of a God-loving, God-fearing community.
I love my faith and my church and look forward to attending every Sunday to take part in the worship. We have a great band too! I love the services – they are lively and contemporary. The age range in our church varies from one week old to one hundred and two years. We are a large community consisting of cultures from all around the world. We support several smaller and third world faith charities and causes which is great. We are a town-centre church with a congregation of approximately three-hundred-and fifty, maybe more. There are a total of four Ministers, all with various responsibilities who are very friendly and welcoming. Then, there are the Deacons, all with various roles to play (some specialize in the education of our children; some, our Senior Citizens etc).
It has a very much ‘reaching out to the general public’ policy and this includes arranging activities for children and teenagers, an ‘art and craft’ group, open again to all. We have clubs for those with mental health problems to ensure they feel less isolated. There is a Child Contact Centre for ‘broken’ families, events for Seniors, a Budget Coaching Centre for those with financial difficulties. We even have Street Pastors who regularly go out on a Friday and Saturday night and offer a hot meal and comfort for the night to those who are homeless, are addicts and generally, the lonely who are so often excluded in society.
There is provision and space for my wheelchair for the Sunday service, at the front where i can see the words on the screen; i can hear the Minister’s sermon clearly and am close to the band so i can appreciate the music. SO I hear you saying, ‘What am i banging on about?!’, ‘What’s my gripe?’
Well, to get to the point, WHY, in a church like this, am i feeling there is discrimination going on, not with race, not with age, not with sexuality, not with mental health, not with general physical disability. SO, WHY, OH, WHY is there discrimination going on against FOLK, SUCH AS MYSELF, IN WHEELCHAIRS??
Yes, you heard me right! And yes, i am angry and just maybe having a rant! Some people in the congregation, literally talk over my head, look straight past me without so much as a ‘hello’ as if i were invisible, gather in little groups to chat, from which i am totally excluded because i am not able to stand with them? I park myself, in my wheelchair, somewhere near the coffee hatch so i am not in the way but neither am i out of sight. And does anybody ask me if i’d like a drink, or a chat?…NO. I feel like a leper (or maybe i’m over-sensitive, or maybe i am indeed invisible!). I sit or mooch around as much as i can, with a big smile on my face, making eye-contact and willing to talk about any subject. I am open minded, sociable, chatty (given the chance) and intelligent as well as polite and i like to think, considerate.
RIGHT!! I THINK I’VE MADE MY POINT AND YES, I FEEL BETTER NOW, THANK YOU!
6 thoughts on “WHERE DOES FAITH STOP AND DISCRIMINATION BEGIN?”
I’m so very sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with this. No one should be made to feel invisible, especially in the one place we should all be accepted. Here’s a thought:
John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”
Acceptance is a form of love and love is a quality of being Christ disciple… what does that say about those who do not show love? You are the only one who can decide whether or not your current congregation is suitable for you.
Thank you for your understanding. I have been thinking about making a change although this is difficult after seven years. However, as you say, this may be necessary as i am don’t seem to be ‘fitting in’ currently, where i am.
I meant to also add – Whatever you decide, I hope you will have peace and acceptance because you deserve that.
Thank you very much for your kind comment.
Hi,Ellie. I have children that have another type of disability. Many people even today have a hard time accepting disabilities.I prefer the word shortcomings.In the 1970s-80s I saw parents hiding their children or adult sons/daughters from strangers.
I met Tony in the early 1980s in a Catholic Church group. He had a wheel chair which many times I saw him put into his adapted van . Then he would sit in the driver’s seat and drove away.Tony was a very social person.He a hard grip when it came to greeting men like me. He talked to many people even if he was not introduced. I was one of those he did talk to a lot.He complained about the sidewalks not having access for wheelchairs, about people ignoring him, and the like. But there was one thing he never told me but I was able to discover:Tony fell in love and he did struggle to express his feelings because he feared being rejected.I lost track of Tony. Someone told me he had died some years ago.
We all have shortcomings, but we all want to be accepted.That is why I can count the numbers of friends I had through the years with the fingers of my hands.
The Christian Yahwist
Thank you for taking time to read this and comment x