The Essence of Being Human

Ubuntu is an African worldview that is hard to translate into Western culture. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has offered several definitions. One of them is “my humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in what is yours.” But he offers another definition, simple and profound, that resonates with me: Ubuntu is “the essence of being human.”

Two weeks ago a group of Columbia Theological Seminary students representing various ethnic and cultural traditions began their journey as Practical Theology students. None knew what to expect – of the school, the program or each other – but we were all united as one by the radical love of Jesus and the unifying power of the Spirit.

During an intense week-long session, half of the class journeyed to be with members of the Friendship Center of Holy Comforter Church. For over 15 years, the Friendship Center has provided services to individuals marginalized by poverty, serious mental illness, and disability. Funded by small grants, the Episcopal Diocese and friends, The Friendship Center offers three programs: Wellness and Recovery, Art and Gardening and Community and Relationship Building. Continue reading

Journey from Isolation to Community

Evelyn McMullen shares some thoughts about embracing families where one or more children have special needs. This is a reblog from Columbia Connections

Columbia Connections

By Dr. Evelyn Worth McMullen, Director of Bright Threads Ministries

Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of hearing the stories of a number of parents whose children have special needs. Stories of pain and stories of joy; stories of brokenness and stories of hope. One recurring theme is isolation. Participation in social settings, even with extended family, is made difficult by the effort of continual caregiving. Parents advocate for their children as they navigate healthcare systems, education options, and even family birthday parties. It’s no wonder they find community among others whose lives have similar challenges. Parents get to know one another at Special Olympics events, in the waiting rooms of clinics and emergency rooms, and at meetings to explain changes in the “med waiver” requirements.So how can we, as the body of Christ, offer community to families who may feel as if they don’t belong?

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Bright Threads Ministries

Bright Threads Ministries…weaving people of all abilities into the fabric of congregations

McMullen Worship Center

Are there people with disabilities in our congregations?  If we have two families with children with disabilities there are at least twenty more nearby without a church home. If there is one adult with a disability in worship on Sunday there are at least forty more in the surrounding neighborhoods. Continue reading