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Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability, and Inclusion
Authors: Mark I. Pinsky
People who have disabilities face many different types of barriers to participation in the faith communities of their choice. These include not only the obvious physical ones, such as stairs that absolutely exclude persons who use wheelchairs, but also those that are emotionally or socially based that can equally exclusive, especially of those who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. The following excerpts from reviews suggest the utility of the stories in this book.
From The Cypress Times:
“The stories in this rich book tell us how some communities show that love, care, and friendship. The stories, however, are not without struggle. The struggle to understand how and why a person has a disability, the struggle to include those whose behavior is unpredictable, the struggle to create a community that is open to all. But the stories also include signs that this may not be as difficult as it seems. A friendly word, a patient moment, a willingness to reach out is the first step.
Amazing Gifts is more than a collection of stories. It offers encouragement to congregations that may be unsure whether this is a ministry they are able to undertake. Reading these stories will move congregations to the next level of comfort, the next level of understanding, and the next level of responsibility. They will see that any steps—stumbles and all—are worthy and can succeed, leading them to realize, “This is something I can do. This is something our congregation can do.”
(full review viewed on 3/7/2012 at www.thecypresstimes.com/article/Books_Reviews/Authors_News/AMAZING_GIFTS_STORIES_OF_FAITH_DISABILITY_AND_INCLUSION_RELEASED_BY_ALBAN_INSTITUTE/56903)
From Mark Stephenson, M.Div.
“The stories are good to read not only because they are written well, but also because they encourage and allow the people with disabilities to minister to the reader as they ministered within their own contexts. For example, Jim Schwier, a young man with Down syndrome, was so pleased to take his first communion that he called out, “Mmm, good,” when he ate the bread, and cried “Cheers!” as he held the cup high. Smiles and nods of affirmation from the congregation members comforted his embarrassed father as the two of them made their way back to their seats. This young man’s response helped the congregation appreciate the sacrament anew.
However, this is not a Chicken Soup for the Disabled Soul. Not every story ends happily or gives a rosy picture of each faith community. The subjects themselves have diverse reactions to their disabilities, some who conquer, but others who work hard just to cope. Tom Powell, adoptive father of Nick who has severe autism, wonders, “Have I done all I could to ensure that Nick has a full life? . . . Have I spent enough time and energy nurturing all aspects of his life, including his spiritual life? I hope so, but others, most importantly Nick in his own way, will be the judge of my efforts.” (p. 279)”
(Full review viewed on 3/7/2012 at network.crcna.org/content/disability-concerns/amazing-gifts-stories-faith-disability-and-inclusion)
|Address:||P.O. Box 933433|
Atlanta, Georgia 31193
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|Phone:||703-964-2700 ext. 244 or 800-486-1318 ext. 244|
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Book on Publisher’s Website
Review From Mark Stephenson, M. Div.
Blog Discussing Book
News article about the book in the Huffington Post
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