In 2014 the Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly adopted a resolution to designate the third Sunday in September of 2015 as Definitely-abled Sunday. The resolution noted that the intention was that congregations, “lift up national and international ministries such as MOSAIC, an ELCA ministry that partners with people with intellectual disabilities to create a meaningful life, in a caring community, giving a voice to their needs, and that congregations be encouraged to embrace and involve people with differing abilities; and that on those Sundays congregations encourage and support those with disabilities to serve in worship leadership positions and to participate in the life of the congregation, as fully as appropriate, throughout the year to witness to the unity we share in Christ.”
The following article by Brittney Ledford, Public Relations Specialist at MOSAIC is about a celebration that took place in April of this year.
On Sunday, April 19, Mosaic in Des Moines partnered with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Ankeny for Definitely-abled Sunday. The morning highlighted ways that people with intellectual disabilities can have roles in the church rather than just sit in the pews and be passive participants.
Eight people in service volunteered for various jobs during two morning services and a Sunday school class. All church doors were manned with people in service to greet churchgoers as they came in. Three gentlemen also served as ushers and passed out bulletins, and they got to wear “Usher” name badges to denote their special jobs that morning.
As everyone else headed in for the 9:30 service, Nathan Williamson went upstairs to read the book “A Very Special Critter” by Mercer Mayer to a Sunday school class full of kids.
“It was awesome, and it was fun,” Nathan said. “I want to do it again.”
After the service and the class were over, it was time for a short break for fellowship and coffee. Then everyone got to go back to their greeting and ushering stations to do it all again for the 11:00 service! The entire morning was a wonderful opportunity for the people Mosaic serves and the church attendees to learn from each other. We’re so thankful to Holy Trinity for opening their doors so we could share this experience with them!
Sunday, September 20 is designated as Definitely-abled Sunday in the Southeastern Iowa Synod but any Sunday your congregation designates is a great time to get people involved and welcome people to your congregation. If your church would be interested in hosting a Definitely-abled Sunday, contact Brittney Ledford of MOSAIC at 515-868-0623 or [email protected] or Val Harlynn of the Southeastern Iowa Synod at 319-338-1273 or [email protected].
A Congregational Guide for Ministry with and Among People with Disabilities (PDF)
Video of the Rev. Bill Hassel reading from Philippians at Definitely-abled Sunday in 2014.
Rejoicing Spirits: a ministry that works to enrich the faith lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends and other supportive community members. They provide resources and support to congregations.
Mosaic: a faith based organization with a strong presence in Iowa working with people with disabilities.