Those Parts of the Body That Seem to be Weaker…
On Saturday I attended an office bearers’ conference in Burlington, just next door to Hamilton. Rev. D. Agema spoke on “the inclusion of special needs members in the life of the congregation.” It was excellent and I learned a lot. Since he had a detailed handout, I didn’t take any notes to share with you. However, he gave me permission to post the handout. There are a lot of helpful pointers and suggestions.
One thing that was striking was the fact that things have changed so much in the last 20-30 years. Today institutionalization and segregation are avoided at all costs, whereas a couple of decades ago they were the norm. Today we’ve moved more towards inclusion, and this is surely a good thing. No more “out of sight, out of mind.”
Another noteworthy point was raised by Rev. P. Aasman during the discussion period. He noted that lodging homes for people with special needs are places where there is much openness to the gospel. He suggested that local churches have a look at what’s in their community and develop relationships with the people in these homes. An excellent idea!
In my work as a driver for the mentally and physically disabled, I have witnessed several outreach programs that fulfill the Biblical mandate of being Christlike in the community in which we live. There are churches that open up their facilities during the day and/or evening to offer programs for the elderly or mentally disabled. The adult day care programs offer stimulating activities for men and women suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia; thereby offering respite for the caregivers who are often overloaded with the challenges of each day. In the evening, young adults who live in group homes or with parents, travel to churches to enjoy songs, stories, and prayer from the loving hands of faithful volunteers. The Canadian Reformed Church should look into the community, recognize the needs that are there, and respond to them with the resources that the Lord has blessed them with.