Faithtree Resources is thrilled to introduce our newest division called Removing Barriers, created to actively promote an Orthodox worldview on disability.
Removing Barriers is designed to educate, equip, mentor and train Orthodox Christian clergy and churches to be effective and inclusive to all of God’s children, in all aspects of church life.
Here are 3 reasons we believe this is some of the most critical work for our churches to be focused on today.
1. God commands this work of us.
God gave us direct instruction throughout Holy Scripture that repeatedly reminds us of how much God values our love for our brothers and sisters. We also hear again and again that God’s expectation of His people is that we provide for each other, and specifically, that we bear one another’s burdens (see I Corinthians 13, Galatians 6:2, Philippians 2:4, James 2:14-17).
We also know that God’s expectation is for His children to provide for members of the flock who are weak or in need (see Luke 14:13, Romans 15:1, Acts 20:35).
And finally, we hear multiple times throughout Scripture the command to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to all peoples (see Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19).
2. This work is critical for Orthodox families in every parish.
Statistics tell us that now, more than ever, exceptional needs, sickness/disease and issues of disability are intimately affecting our people. Just because we don’t see or can’t identify those needs each week on Sundays, does not all mean that they don’t exist.
In fact, the need for our churches to be competent in their support and care of people in this way is growing at an unprecedented rate. The impact these needs have on our Orthodox families is financial, relational, physical and most importantly, spiritual.
It is imperative that our churches are competent in identifying, resourcing and helping to meet or address these needs.
3. Sharing good information and teaching practical application is urgent and very necessary.
All people – whether clergy, lay leaders, parents, or simply members of our churches- are best equipped to meet the needs of families through current, practical, specific and researched information. Such information must incorporate not only the practical and relevant application of improving day-to-day living, but must be rooted in Orthodox Christian theology and reflect the Orthodox ethos in its fullness.
And further, (and this part is super exciting), we believe the Orthodox Christian Church in North America has some of the foremost thinkers on issues of: Extraordinary Needs, Special Education, Access and Inclusion, multiple methods of therapy and many other specialties. Their knowledge, if made available, would greatly benefit our people, our families, our clergy, our parishes and ultimately, our world.
Faithtree is committed to seeing that happen.
We will do this by providing information, resources, materials, content and conversations that can be utilized by Orthodox (or any) Christian parishes who are in search of being more accessible and available to all of God’s children.
Stay tuned later this week for resources specifically designed to support our Orthodox Summer Camping Programs!