"To belong, you need to be missed".
With this statement, John Swinton, Professor of Practical Theology and Pastoral Care affirms that it is not enough for people to be involved in communities, they must belong. The surest way to know you belong somewhere is if you are missed. When the weak and vulnerable are excluded from the Christian community, it is no longer a community. Swinton concludes, "In other words, no one can belong unless we all belong."
As CBM Christian Blind Mission, we are inspired by this statement when advocating for inclusion. We present biblical and theological concepts that shape our understanding of inclusion and disability and motivate us to act in development cooperation. We have compiled these concepts in a brochure with examples from CBM's global work and reports on inclusion and exclusion.
New Approaches to Include Persons with Disabilities
Are you a person with a position of responsibility in your church? Are you a religious leader, a church or mission worker, or a church member in your community? Do you want to learn how and why our different identities form a unity in God?
Then this brochure is for you. Download it now and tell your church to use it to teach about the beauty of human diversity and how we complement each other, for example as persons with or without disabilities.
Download your copy here
The 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) 2022
The WCC Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany from 31 August to 9 September 2022 is an event of historic proportions under the theme: "Christ's love moves the world to reconciliation and unity". For the first time in the 74-year history of the Assembly, it will be held in Germany and will attract an estimated 4,500 delegates holding high positions in their churches. The delegates represent 580 million Christians from 352 churches in 120 countries.
The CBM church team will represent us at the WCC. When you attend the Assembly;
1. participate in CBM workshops and events,
2. visit our CBM exhibition stand and interact with our team,
3. take free copies of our materials and ideas for worship and church events for your work,
4. ask our team how you can work for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in your church and development work.
With Prayer, a Blind Luc Found Purpose
Cameroon: Luc is in his early 30s and works as a community worker in the CBM-supported Central Cameroon Cluster (CCC) programme. He lives in Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon in Central Africa.
Luc lost his eyesight at the age of 16 when he was hit full force by a ball during a school break, leaving him completely visually impaired. Six months of treatment followed, with significant pain, but no improvement in his vision. Luc's life changed in ways he could never have imagined.
"I stopped going to school. That was very hard to accept. I could not even go out of the house or play with others anymore. I felt frustrated and furious. I would have preferred to die because what was I going to do without sight?" were his initial thoughts.
It was not easy for his family either, as his mother recounts, "We cried, prayed, went to different hospitals and churches, but nothing changed."
Luc hoped for a miracle and went to many churches in search of one. This hope was fulfilled, but differently than he had thought.
Instead of opening the eyes of my body, God opened my spiritual eyes to see that despite my blindness, He has plans for my life and that He loves me anyway. I gained hope and no longer wished to die.
Paying it forward
Luc became an active member of his church and joined the choir where he plays the drums. He experienced another change when he was visited by two women who were community volunteers. They counselled the family and showed them opportunities for Luc. After leaving school, Luc started working at a private radio station in Yaoundé, where he broadcasts a weekly radio programme that focuses on supporting and advocating for the interests of persons with disabilities.
Luc also works as a social worker in the community. He informs community members about the different forms of disabilities and how CCC can support them. He prepares the necessary referral documents for those who need medical surgery or rehabilitation.