Upon my return from Niagara Falls, NY, where I was blessed with the opportunity to represent the Southwest Conference at the 2018 Widening the Welcome National Gathering, I was asked to write an article that provides an overview of what I learned during the two day conference.
The first workshop I chose to attend was “Christian Education: Am I Welcome?” This workshop was presented by a 25-year old woman with an intellectual disability. She shared her personal story about what it was like growing up in a local United Church of Christ parish. During her presentation, she asked the audience to think about how congregations would answer these questions:
(1) What makes a church welcoming?
(2) What turns people with disabilities away?
(3) What has worked and what has not worked in regards to welcoming people with disabilities?
The Southwest Conference United Church of Christ Widening the Welcome team is entering into a time of Transition and Transformation. On behalf of the Southwest Conference and the Widening the Welcome Ministry, I had the opportunity to attend the CIT: Conference Inclusion Team workshop. The workshop was presented by the Vice-Chair of the United Church of Christ Disability Ministry Board. Participants were invited to join the Conference Inclusion Team Committee Members to learn about what a conference inclusion team and what they hope to accomplish together in the wider church.
You are cordially invited to send representation from your church to the January 2019 Widening the Welcome Ministry Team meeting where I will deliver an in-person presentation about what I learned and experienced at the 2018 United Church of Christ Widening the Welcome National Gathering.
If you would like more information about my experience feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject like put WTW 2018 National Gathering.
“Let us build a longer table, not a taller wall.”