Prospects - access to life
With exciting things happening at Hay Mills Birmingham and a Fresh Expression of church for people with learning difficulties being pioneered there it reminds me that most of our congregations include someone with learning difficulties. How accessible do they find things? Do we assume that learning and discipleship is too hard for them or us? Is it possible for people of mixed abilities to learn from one another?
Prospects is an organisation that works in the UK and beyond. It is ‘committed to enabling more people with learning difficulties to enjoy wider acceptance and inclusion, better services and support and more opportunities to share and experience God’s love’. Their website at www.prospects.org.uk is full of useful resources. There is a toolkit to help with pastoral care issues such as explaining what happens at a funeral and a number of excellent Bible studies developed by Ivy Blair. The studies include sensory activities, common experiences and storytelling rather than rely on lots of reading. Obviously, no two people are alike so you will need to judge and adapt the material. It might be that your Bible study group adapts or that you carefully create one-to-one mentoring or a nurturing small group which takes the discipleship of everyone seriously. There are also accessible worship songs that can be downloaded.
Please let me know how you find any resources on this page and if you come across anything that other Congregational churches might find helpful.