2015 Annual Meeting
The Committee conducted its 2015 annual meeting with the Association of Ministers with Disabilities on July 28 to August 2, at Lovers Lane UMC in Dallas TX. We began by eating together, then had devotions based on Jeremiah 31:33 and our theme of “From the Inside Out.” Eve Newman sang a beautiful song.
On Friday morning, we gathered at Lovers Lane UMC for a joint plenary session. Bishop Peggy Johnson spoke to us about being “Barnabas,” that is, people who encourage others.
Lynn, our consultant, shared about her trip to Nashville and meeting with various boards and agencies that are interested in working with us, such as Older Adult Ministries, Emmaus, UM Communications, and Find A Church. Lynn also discussed the Resource person program and the need to get people involved in projects if they have the time and interest.
Lisa Pridmore, who serves as a representative of Global Ministries on the Pathways to Promise board, explained about the work of Pathways which helps churches help people with mental illness to use their gifts to serve.
Patricia, our Global Ministries staff liaison, discussed our move to the Global Health unit, and GBGM's office move to Atlanta.
Our members shared several events they have been to and participated in. After lunch, Diane Mettam led us in devotions by video.
We then had a presentation by Lisa McKee to both groups. The presentations as a whole were accepted for CEU credit, arranged through United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio.
Lynn and Sharon presented an idea for the DisAbility Connection to become real and widespread by having the DMC and the AMD work more closely together on certain projects. This could help activate the AMD and help the DMC to move ahead as well. We then moved into a discussion of the five petitions that the AMD has prepared and submitted to a number of annual conferences. About six or seven annual conferences have approved them, some with minor amendments, and submitted them to General Conference. One is a new resolution and four are legislative amendments. The petitions were as follows: Removing Prejudice against Ministerial Candidates with Disabilities, Ensure Accessibility of Annual Conference Meetings, Non-Discrimination in Disability Compensation (resolution), Not Optional but Required Member of Joint Committee on Clergy Medical Leave to be Clergy Person with a Disability, Non-Discrimination in Disability Compensation for UMC Employees. Representatives from both the DMC and the AMD will be at General Conference to lobby and track these petitions.
That evening, we celebrated the Pitzer Award Banquet, which was open to the public and was well attended. We presented the Robert M. Pitzer Award to the United Methodist Women for their landmark study, Disability and the Church. UMW President Yvette Richards received the award in person. Bishop Peggy Johnson spoke. Many members of local UMW units were present, as were other local church members. A representative from the resident bishop's office was present, as was the senior pastor of Lovers Lane UMC (our host church). Our emcees were Debby and Eve Newman. There was a terrific live band. The proceedings were ASL interpreted. This wonderful event was planned by the Rev. Russell Ewell.
On Saturday, Donna Fado Ivery offered a presentation about pain and theology. We then began the business meeeting. We are working with a professional designer on our logo, as well as standards for its use. A beta version of our confirmation curriculum is being prepared. The newsletter has 1,540 subscribers, and is shifting to providing more resources. We also discussed a database of contacts, a system to certify accessible churches, and the grant program. We also planned how to expand the Resource program to include resource churches.
We had dinner at Cochrane House, which is an intentional community. Justin told us about their new project, The Julian Way, which will be an intentional community for people with and without disabilities. We ended with Holy Communion together, with the Rev. Russell Ewell presiding.
On Sunday, Rev. Evy McDonald (AMD) preached at the 8:15 service and Rev. Eric Pridmore preached at the 10:50 worship service. Both did an excellent job! Some of our members helped to distribute the elements during Holy Communion. At 9:20, some of us attended the Deaf Bible study and others attended the class for adults with intellectual disabilities. Still others went to the youth worship service or family worship.
We then picked up box lunches and headed to the airport. A few of us were left and had lunch together.