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Supporting People Living With Special Needs and Disabilities ~ Connecting people, Changing lives…

Annual Joint National Disability Conference 2013

00429 ASNA Conf Flyer[1]MISSION TO THE CITIES…..FOR ALL: Joint Annual Disability Ministry Conference 2013 Sophia Nicholls (SEC, Disability Director, ASNA Trustee) 'Inspirational, 'a lot learnt' 'to be a friend rather than a carer to people with disabilities'. These are just some of the phrases said by those who attended the annual joint ASNA / BUC Disability ministry conference held at the Hilton Hotel, Watford on Sunday 17th November 2013. This annual event brings together Disability Coordinators and leaders throughout the UK with the responsibility of making the gospel accessible in their communities and churches. The presentation and workshop by Tony Phelps - Jones (Ministry Director, Prospects, Charity) enhanced the day as his songs and readings set the scene for worship. Tony was supported by Rachel and Sandra who both live with disabilities. Their contributions and involvement in the day, provided an exemplar of how we can ensure leadership and involvement of people living with disabilities in the life of the church. Pastor Terry Messenger (SEC Executive Secretary) opened the day with words of encouragement and Sharon Platt McDonald (BUC Disability Ministries Director –Scotland and Ireland emphasis) delivered a presentation linking the objectives of the conference to the BUC wide Missions to the Cities project. Pastor Patrick Johnson's (Newbold Senior pastor and PhD student) thought provoking presentation elicited many questions and challenged the delegation to think carefully about ministry to people with profound learning disabilities. . Grace Walsh (NEC Disability Ministry Director) and Elaine Harlin (ASNA HANDS Supporter) led on two areas of ministry often forgotten – Mental Illness and Deaf Ministry. Sophia Nicholls (ASNA Trustee & SEC Disability Ministry Director) led the session on 'Sharing Good Practice". Here members from across the union were able to share their stories and experiences of the ministry across the union. Future plans for the ministry in the SEC include Area wide meetings to develop local ministries, in the NEC there will be a weekend conference. More details will be published to identify further work in the missions and future programs and project for the UK churches in this much needed Ministry. It was encouraging to hear members relating what they had learnt from the day - ' to be more creative in worship' 'to identify the many diverse abilities in our church' - as these comments reflected the objectives for the conference.

P1020948Prospect charity volunteers lead worshipTony Phelps - Jones leads the workshop - supporting people with learning disabilities

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