Questions have been raised by disability advocates regarding Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to roll up the disabilities and aged care portfolio into the increased social services portfolio headed up by West Australian MP Christian Porter.
The new Social Services minister is quick to reject these concerns, saying that disabilities care will be front and centre within the portfolio.
How we, as a community, view disability, is a question we must never rest from asking…and answering. It is fundamental to who we are as Christian people living out our call.
Unlike the Federal Government, the VicTas Synod does have a minister whose prime task is addressing disability inclusion. Ordained by God, not by the prime minister, Rev Andy Calder’s role is to encourage and promote inclusion of people with disabilities within the life of the Synod.
With the support of the Commission for Mission board, Mr Calder convened a disability action task group which has just launched the Synod’s Disability Action Plan 2015-2018.
Opening with an Interfaith Litany for Wholeness, the Plan provides both practical steps and theological reflections to enable Uniting Church communities continue on their journey towards inclusion of all.
“The task of the church is not to necessarily bring the person with a disability into the world of the church, but rather to see that person as one in God’s world, a world we share with each other; a world that espouses the value of suffering love above all else. Achievement takes on a different meaning – where our real value comes from our life in Christ.”
The Disability Action Plan 2015-2018 urges us to engage with the question posed by John Swinton, Divinity professor from the University of Aberdeen, ‘Who is the God we worship?’.
“The theology of disability is central to our understanding of what it means to know who God is and to know what it means to be a human being living fully under God,” Professor Swinton wrote.
Download the Disability Action Plan 2015-2018 as a first step towards integrating a theology of disability into the daily work, lives and worship of your community.