Henson Valley Christian Church

Posted By on December 7, 2019


Persons with disabilities and their families
often face obstacles when they seek a place to worship
and serve. Sometimes the obstacle is an architectural
barrier and oftentimes, the barrier is an attitude that
marginalizes the person who is differently-abled. Consider these examples that are true experiences. After completing an accessibility study, the
leaders of one congregation concluded they would not pursue
efforts to bring the building into compliance with ADA
standards. The cost was too high, they said, and with only
one person in the congregation in a wheel chair, it was not
likely, they said, that any more “handicapped” people would be
attending the church.
A mother of three children, two of whom have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, reports
that she and her family no longer attend church. They were
asked to sit in the back, apart from the rest of the
congregation, because her sons’ behavior was experienced
as disruptive. The transportation ministry of one church
abruptly stopped picking up a certain woman on Sunday mornings, without explanation. No one from
the church contacted her once transportation ceased.
This woman, who had been diagnosed with a mental illness,
was experienced by members of the congregation
as “difficult.” Without transportation, she
could no longer attend the church. Henson Valley Christian Church (Disciples
of Christ) is committed to being a place of worship and
service where all people are welcome. This welcome is grounded
in the Great Commandment of Jesus of Nazareth to
love God and to love neighbor. We are neighbor when
we help meet the unmet needs of others – and there
are many unmet needs within the community of the differently-abled and their families. At Henson Valley, every person is understood
to be an expression of the holy. We are all created
by and have life in God because it is God who has animated
each of us with God’s own breath. God doesn’t make distinctions that privilege
one group over another, so at Henson Valley, we don’t
make distinctions either. Persons who are differently-abled are integrated
into the worship and service of the congregation. We
focus on what people are able to do, not so much on
what they are unable to do. Whether the different ability is physical,
cognitive, emotional, or psychological, Henson Valley
welcomes you and will love you as God has welcomed
and loves us. The theology that informs our ministry is
three- fold: redeeming time, reimagining hospitality, and creating a place of belonging. With God’s help, we actively redeem time
by adjusting our pace so that everyone is included; no one is left behind and no one is left out. We reimagine hospitality as relationships
where everyone experiences the gifts of being both host and guest, both giver and receiver. And, we create an environment where not only is everyone included; everyone belongs. Belonging at Henson Valley means you are missed if you are not present. Come, be a part of a Christian fellowship
that is seeking to be a faithful witness to God’s
love for the whole of creation. Come, help us to create ministries where the unmet needs of the community are addressed and, in partnership with God and those with whom we share ministry, lives are transformed within the gracious gift of community. Come, Henson Valley Christian Church – a congregation where worship and service are one – celebrates the diversity of God’s
creation and opens wide the doors of our hearts to include others in the ways God has included
us.

Posted by Lewis Heart

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