Ditching The Invisible Mask

A puppet wearing a blue surgical mask

Over the last couple of years, we have all got used to seeing and wearing masks as we go about our daily lives. It’s been part of our routine to pick up a mask as we leave the house and put one on as we enter a supermarket or get on a bus. However, many people, including myself, have worn a mask for a lot longer than the last couple of years. These masks are usually invisible…..until the mask starts to slip!

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“You Just Need To Trust God More!”

A blue hardback New Testament Bible with a box of medication on top

This past week has been ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’. Since the pandemic began, people have become much more aware of their mental health. Mental health has also been talked about more on television and in newspapers and magazines, with experts giving advice on how to improve your mental health. However, there are still some people who dismiss others who have mental health issues, implying that they’re making it up or that they need to “get a grip”. Sadly, this type of reaction can happen in churches too.

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Why Go To A Christian Event Like Spring Harvest?

Almost every year since 1984 I have been staying, for about a week every year, at a holiday camp. Nothing too unusual about that you might think, but I choose to spend it at an event called Spring Harvest. Spring Harvest has been around since 1979, so I started attending fairly early on in the event. So what makes me go to a Christian event each year and what makes me spend my holiday with a few thousand other Christians? Here are a few reasons…

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Becoming a Disability Champion: The Additional Needs Adventure Continues!

Church show a brick built church. It has wooden doors. Above the doors is a circle with the words "St Saviour's Sunbury" on it. In front of the building, on the left hand side is a tree.

If you’ve read my blog post ‘Additional Needs Ministry – My Journey So Far’, you’ll know that God started me off on a change of course over ten years ago which lead me to be an Inclusion Champion at our previous church. Since moving churches, I’ve kept the conversation about disability inclusion going and the adventure has continued…

At the beginning of March, I was approached by the vicar of our church and asked whether I would consider becoming the Disability Champion for our church. After spending some time praying about it (and also asking friends to pray), I accepted the role. Now, you might be sitting reading this and reacting a bit like Harry Potter when Hagrid tells him that he’s a wizard – “I’m a what?”. Well, hopefully by the end of this blog, you’ll know more about what a church Disability Champion does.

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A Book That Every Children’s, Youth and Families Worker Needs To Read!

On 16th February, I was privileged to be involved in the book launch of ‘How to Include Autistic Children and Young People in Church’. This book was written by my good friend Mark Arnold. I and my Son had previously written a blog post for Mark about transitioning from the church youth group to ‘Adult’ church. This blog post was included in the book, hence the invite to the book launch! Mark is the Additional Needs Ministry Director at Urban Saints, Co-Founder of the Additional Needs Alliance and Founder of The Dad’s Fire Circle. He is also Dad to a wonderful young man who has additional needs. This blog takes a brief look at the book.

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Carry On Live Streaming

No, this isn’t the title of a new Carry On film, but a quick look at some of the groups who benefit from church services being live streamed. When the UK went into the first lockdown at the start of the pandemic, something wonderful happened – churches closed the building’s doors and they started to live stream their services instead! Now, this may not sound hugely earth shattering, but online church services had been something that some in the disabled community had requested for many years. Sadly, the Church had often seemed reluctant to do it (saying it would be too complicated and difficult to do). Thanks to the pandemic live streamed church services are now happening each week. It’s not just the disabled community that has benefitted from churches live streaming their services though, there are several other groups too. Let’s have a brief look at them.

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Taizé – A Different Style Of Church

Last month we found ourselves on a Eurostar train heading to Paris on our way to the Taizé Community. We were going out to help bring our daughter, Charlotte, and her belongings back to the UK after volunteering with the community for the previous 15 months. Taizé is an ecumenical Christian monastic fraternity and is very different from the church style that we’re used to. It was also my first trip abroad since the late 1980s, so how did we all get on?

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Additional Needs Ministry – My Journey So Far

Have you ever felt led to change what you’re doing as a job, your role in church or something in your family life? These decisions aren’t always easy to make, especially if it’s something that you’ve done for many years. I believe, as a Christian, that if God has asked you to do it, he will be with you on the journey. About ten years ago God started me off on a change of course which would ultimately lead me to being an Inclusion Champion at the church we were at at the time. Here’s the story of those last ten years….

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Accessible Church – More Than Just Ramps!

Anyone who has spoken to me for more than a few minutes will tell you that I’m pretty passionate about churches being accessible to disabled people and those with additional needs. But why do they need to be? Surely if they turn up each week, that’s enough, isn’t it? Personally, I don’t think it is. They may be turning up, but do they struggle to access the building and, once they’ve finally made it into the building are they able to access what is going on & understand it? Are they able to do more than just hand out the Bibles or make the drinks after the service? Are they talked to as friends or is it more of a case of being ignored? It’s estimated that 90% of disabled people don’t attend church and, to be fair, if I didn’t feel like I was being welcomed, I wouldn’t want to show up either.

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