It is Disability Awareness Sunday on 21 June and in this edition we highlight the autism community. I am hoping these articles will bring an awareness of the challenges some families with autistic people face, and hopefully change how we engage and interact with the people who come to our centres and corps.
In order to facilitate an enabling and life-giving environment, we must ask people with disabilities what they require of us, and then listen intently to what they tell us. It is only as we engage on a personal level with a determination to hear and to then adapt, that we can begin to understand and bring change.
On page three, Coralie Bridle challenges us with this statement: ‘We do not always get things right. However, acknowledgement of our mistakes is hollow if we don’t seek to embrace and engage those who have a message that needs to be heard for the sake of the Kingdom of God’.
Coralie is currently undertaking a research project for her PhD, looking at the experiences of persons with complex disability who are part of Salvation Army congregations in New Zealand. I am hopeful that the research findings and the conversations that will take place within The Salvation Army as a result of this project, will make a difference. As Christians, we desire to see all people come to a rich and meaningful relationships with God and within our congregations, so I know there will be a willingness to facilitate the changes we need to make.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
Nga Waiata 133:1
Nā, anō te pai, anō te āhuareka o te nohoanga o ngā tēina, o ngā tuākana i runga i te whakaaro kotahi!