Monday, 30 January 2017

Inclusivity by Susan L.

  Part of the teaching style of The Meetinghouse is to put up a wide range of quotations prior to beginning the lesson for the day. They do a wonderful job of illustrating and enhancing our understanding of the lesson. However, it struck me that they are made available based on a whole whack of assumptions: language, literacy and vision.
  Afterwards, I mentioned this concern to my pastor and added, "It would be nice to have someone read them out loud."
  The quotes are included in the week's handout so if anyone has difficulty reading them during the service, they can be taken in at whatever pace suits the reader. Even then, that assumes literacy and an ability to read teeny tiny type. Reading out loud is also based on an assumption that people can hear.
  I think churches in general make these assumptions.
  So, the question is: How do we, as a church body, enable anyone with challenges to be included without making a big deal or singling them out? Would having someone translate the service using sign language be of help? I wish I knew how but only a fraction of the alphabet remains from childhood lessons. It is something I could learn.
  There isn't a cost factor in providing these services. Warm bodies with the skills will suffice.
  I live in a predominantly white, English speaking community. The demographics are changing. There are a few Christian, Syrian refugee families living here. For those who balk at having refugees in our country, many are Christian. Many have become Christians because they are finally free to do so without fear of being killed for their faith.
  How could our average, white, English speaking Sunday service serve them? Could a translator use an earphone/translator system like that used at any meeting of nations? I have no idea how that technology works or the cost involved. Perhaps a simple walkie-talkie system with earphones would suffice if someone was able to do the translations.
  This is about breaking down barriers. This is about making Jesus available to everyone. Isn't that what we are called to do?
  "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen"  Jesus in Mat 28:19-20

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