Access Sunday celebrated to ‘raise awareness about injustice faced by disabled people’

Each October, one Sunday is designated on the United Church of Christ calendar as Access Sunday. On this day, congregations celebrate the gifts of persons with disabilities and the strides that the church has made in being more whole through becoming more accessible. It is also a day that the UCC acknowledges the journey yet to be taken with disabled siblings.

The UCC Disabilities Ministries offered worship resources for the Oct. 8 observance, which included liturgy, sermon resources and special music. As the group noted, any Sunday of the year is a good time to consider disability and accessibility.

‘Celebrating disabled wisdom’

Bekah Maren Anderson is on the UCC Disabilities Ministry board.

UCCDM board co-chair Bekah Maren Anderson shared about Access Sunday on the UCC Disabilities Ministries Facebook page.

“I love celebrating Access Sunday, and I really do mean celebrating,” she said. “Access Sunday can be many things, including a day to raise awareness about injustice faced by disabled people, and call the church to take action.

“But when I celebrate Access Sunday, I remind myself that I am celebrating disabled wisdom, activism, and tenacity. Access Sunday is not only a day to say, ‘Disabled people need greater access;’ it’s also a day to say, ‘Disabled people are here and we’re awesome!’ I truly believe that disabled people have gifts to offer that the church needs, and Access Sunday is a special time to remind the church of that, and to invite it to celebrate us always.”

Anderson helped to write a special song for use during worship on Access Sunday, along with the Rev. Jacob Nault, pastor of Union-Congregational Church in Waupun, Wis.

Ministry that resonates

Nault shared the song during his church’s Access Sunday worship service this week. He said he felt it was a bit of “show and tell” for him, as he was showcasing his own song, and that everyone was very receptive and supportive.

Rev. Jacob Nault plays piano using six fingers–part of living with Cerebral Palsy. He helped write a special song for Access Sunday.

Nault has lived with a mild case of cerebral palsy throughout his life, and it affects his work as a musician. He has played piano since the age of five, using only six fingers to play — just one on the left side because of his disability.

“I’m still kind of flabbergasted that my work is shared around the country,” he said. “I love that the ministry that I do resonates with folks. I can make an impact in some small way.”

‘Accessibility is ongoing’

In another post on the UCC Disabilities Ministry Facebook page, Stephanie Niemela from the Michigan Conference shared her feelings about the special day.

“Access Sunday for me is about acknowledging and showing gratitude for the inclusion and work of the church and the inclusion and work that remains to be done,” she said. “Accessibility is ongoing and more than one conversation.

“Thankfully, there are many ways that we can build, connect and live into conversations. All bodyminds reflect our creator, and God rejoices in the culture experience of disability.”

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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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