Yesterday, Kathi got a phone call from a woman wondering about the ministries at our church. Our group called "Light and Power" which is specifically focussed on adults, was the point of her question. She described her son's disabilities, and then asked whether he would be welcomed in the class. Kathi replied that the class includes both people with and without disabilities.
"Really?" she replied. "Does the church let you do do that?" (That is, mixing people with and without disabilities).Obviously, this woman's response is a bit funny, but it must also be informed by something. Something that has grown out of her personal experience. Perhaps she and her adult son have been told "You aren't allowed to do that at this church" when she wanted to have her son in a regular church class, or attend the regular worship service. The confused responses of this mother of an adult son is an indictment. Imagine someone honestly wondering whether an organization (the church) which claims to represent Jesus would allow people with disabilities to attend the regular church service, or even house an integrated (people with and without disabilities) class on the campus.
Kathi replied, "Sure!"
She then asked, "What time does the Light and Power group meet?"
"We go to the regular church service at 9:30, and then..." Kathi replied.
"Does the church let you to do that?" she interrupted. (That is let the people with disabiliteis go to the regular church service).
"Yes" Kathi replied.
Its a little funny but its a lot sad. It is particularly sad in that this mother herself may be a person who experiences a disability. Her questions and responses kind of make me think that is the case. Also I find that those with mild disabilities often will be turned away with excuses like that. Those without cognitive challenges would typically speak up. Others without the ability to argue their point are more easily turned away. Which is another insidious aspect of her responses.
Hopefully she and her son will soon be attending our church.