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Friday, 13 October 2017

Prophetic voices calling from the edge

Vox pop interviews given by participants at Prophets & Seers: Calling from the Edge, the 2016 conference on Disability and Church, organised in partnership between St Martin-in-the-Fields and Inclusive Church. Participants shared their message to the Church.

Here is my Thought for the Week for the Parish Newsletter at St Martin-in-the-Fields:

“My weakness and my weariness can be something like a gift.”

“It is really important to have a chance to tell our stories, hear them underpinned by theology and find out how they can – or should – influence wider public policy.”

“We need to move on from welcoming disabled people as an act of grace and see them as whole people with as much right to be there as anyone else.”

“Disabled people are not so much a pastoral problem as a prophetic potential. We need to ask not how the church can care for disabled people but to ask what is the prophetic message of the church in our culture and how disabled people can make a unique contribution to that renewal.”

“Our disabilities don’t necessarily detract from how whole we are, please don’t presume we need to be healed or that we have nothing to contribute – everyone has gifts to give.”

These quotes come from ‘Calling from the Edge’, a beautifully produced booklet celebrating the first five disability conferences that have been held as a partnership between St Martin-in-the-Fields and Inclusive Church. In the booklet you will find stories and reflections that tell the story that underlies this significant series of conferences. We are launching this booklet during a weekend of events that includes the sixth conference in the series, in which we are exploring what being disabled says about God and what the stories of disabled people tell us about God’s story.

All this is predicated on the basis that nothing should be said about us without us and, as a result, that the conference is organised by and for disabled people. The prophetic voices we hear emanating from the conference and booklet are, rightly, challenging for the Church but, as Sam Wells says in his Foreword to the booklet, we need to recognise the sin of how much we have rejected in the past, and celebrate the grace that God gives us back what we once rejected to become the cornerstone of our lives. That’s what prophetic ministry means.


St Martin's Voices - Gloria.

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