Other great Orthodox Christian blogs that address disability issues

I’ve been surveying Orthodox Christian disability resources for 10 years, and now I will be taking a break.   Many others, mostly mothers, have taken up blogging, sharing their experiences and discoveries. As I have worked in a group home for many years, this is personal for me as well, but not in the same way as a mother of a child with disabilities. Mothers are mothers 24 hours a day, for their entire lives. There is great depth to what they write, not necessarily in terms of new information,  but the kind of depth which comes from the heart, which is the important kind of depth. This is true, of course, of the blog and websites written by persons with disabilities themselves.

You will find much, ongoing information, personal and otherwise, on the blogs listed on the webpage below. Give them a look:

Online Orthodox Christian persons with disabilites & their family members

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you give a feast . . .

808fe-25ce25a425ce259f25ce25a525ce25a425ce25a525ce25a625ce259b25ce259f25ce25a5Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” . . . .
“A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. . . . the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’” St. Luke 14: 12-14, 16b-18a, 21b
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St. Paul

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Theotokos foundation
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For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. . . .  the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians 12: 12, 21-26
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Scripture quotations from biblegateway.com 
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Al-Kafaàt (Abilities)        The Sheltering Tree        Challenge Liturgy         Estia         Icons for the Blind         Monastery of St. Martyr Grand Princess Elizabeth         St. John the Campassionate Mission         Panfilovo          In Case of Fire, Use Stairs         Deaf Orthodox Christians         Koinonia for Exceptional Orthodox Families         The Body of Christ: A Place of Welcome for People with Disabilities         Getting My First Hug         Church & the Child with Invisible Disabilities         Disability & Communion         Who is My neighbor?         Depression: Can It Be An Opportunity?         Prof. Dmitry Avdeev, M.D., Ph.D.         Blessed Matrona of Moscow          Helping Martin Succeed         A Letter to the Church         St. Mark the Deaf         Fr. George Florovsky & the Wild Child         Special Needs in Sunday School 1   2         St. John Chrysostom, Almsgiving, & Persons with Disability         Inclusion Awareness Workbook         Does the Orthodox Church adequately support their members with disabilities?         Special needs children in the Church         Mental health & relationship to God         Hopegivers         Personhood, Human Brokenness & the Therapeutic Calling of the Eastern Orthodox Church         Embracing All God’s Children: Orthodox Theology Concerning Disability & Its Implications for Ministry with Special Needs Youth in the Orthodox Church
God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

johnlahutskyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4ffaukraine_01_jpg_jpg45c5f-downiheartzion485511_658089894203358_2139785322_nbe80f-lilliana-1st-bdayElizabeth's 2011Jean-Vanier-3Songs of Experience (Mairs)Blessed_Matronan53927283354_6440orphans in the meadowe93da-6a00d83451580669e2010535fb037d970c-320wiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlana's personal reflection on Church services and her special needs family30-15b15dWolf Wolfensberger † Feb. 27, 2011Incense is therapeutic, except . . .paisios7clip_image002a-cross14921avdeev-photo

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St. John Chrysostom †407

St. John Chrysostom

“If you ever wish to associate with someone, make sure that you do not give your attention to those who enjoy health and wealth and fame as the world sees it, but take care of those in affliction, . . . in critical circumstances, . . . who are utterly deserted and enjoy no consolation. Put a high value on associating with these, for from them you shall receive much profit, . . . and you will do all to the glory of God. God Himself has said, ‘I am the Father of orphans and the protector of widows. (Psalms 67:6)’”

 

 

 

Disability Resources: The personal blogs and offerings of Orthodox Christians with disabilities

(Also included: The online offerings of family members)

The author of this blog is a group home advisor who lives and works with adults with developmental disabilities. (Me – W.G.) I’ve done this for 26 years. It has had its many moments of frustration. And it has had its wonderful moments as well. I thank God for this opportunity, this life, these relationships.

But the truth is that I have been paid for my service as an advisor. And the organization with which I am employed gives me time off. And in a number of years, not so far away, I will retire from this role.

This is not the case with the people with disabilities themselves, and their family members. These relationships- mother, father grandmother, son, daughter – are lifelong;  for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week one lives with a disability with no time off, unless, of course, there is healing or successful medical intervention.

The webpages below are those of such people- Orthodox Christian persons with disability and their family members. For ten years I have compiled these resources and commented on them. But the insights shared on the websites below come from a place deeper within those that share them than my thoughts on the subject. I invite you to learn from them.

Online Orthodox Christian persons with disabilities & their family members


Orthodoxadultautists: A blog by an orthodox autist, for orthodox autists   by Monica. See especially A letter to the Church

Stephen Yates and son Axel: Yates and Son

Morning Coffee by Alana; see especially Sitting on the Front Pew 

Beth Hopkin’s In Case of Fire, Use Stairs

Bethany Sheldahl’s weblogNot of this World

 Catherine’s Pascha: Wheelchairs and Sidewalks by Charlotte Riggle (See also Home Page & Trailer for the book “Catherine’s Pascha” )

The Oprisko familyThe Least of These: Raising autism in the church, with dignity

Pasha, Russian orphan, has been adopted by David and Dawn Heatwole, members of Saint Catherine Mission, Hagerstown, MD

What Do You Do DEAR? Telling the honest truth about our beautiful new normal by Mary Evelyn

And Baby Makes 12 A conversation between Khorea Frederica Mathewes-Green and Mary Klopcic; from Ancient Faith Radio also Mair’s Momilies see especially How do you do it?

Girada Marius’ “I want to fight! I write using the nose, but I write … “

Loving a Child with Autism by Khorea Frederica Mathewes-Green; from Frederica.com

The Story: Steve and Tony Sakak  + (Website Homepage)

The Tcaci family Mental Health Advocates in Moldova Use Film to Tell Stories of Children with Disabilities

Facebook: Deaf Orthodox Christians

Facebook: Kathyrn Kessler, an Orthodox Christian with Crohn’s Disease: Fighting the Good Fight With Faith And Love 

Facebook: Koinonia for Exceptional Orthodox Families 

The Turner Family, Randolph, New Jersey 

Greek American Girl 

Living with the Woof (a service dog)

Disability Resources: Ministries

The ministries that have been found (surely there are many more) are listed on two pages, international and U.S. (my location).  The ministries in traditional Orthodox Christian countries are considerably more developed, and these ministries serve as a goal for the developing Orthodox Church in the U.S. to aim for.

Ministries (International) 

This list contains Orthodox Christian ministries which serve and enable persons with disabilities in Russia, Lebanon, Belarus, Macedonia, Egypt, Palestine, the Ukraine, Australia, Georgia, India, Canada, Moldova, Ethiopia, Romania, Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Serbia-Montenegro, Syria, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Greece. Quite a few are associated with monasteries. Here are seven outstanding efforts:

Al-Kafaàt (Abilities) (Lebanon); Monastery of St. Martyr Grand Princess Elizabeth (Belarus); The Village of Panfilovo (Russia); The Four Homes of Mercy (Palestine); Tikhvin Icon of Our Lady Temple, (Moscow, Russia); Saint Paraskeva Orthodox Charity (Romania):  Theotokos Foundation, (Greece).

Ministries (U.S.) 

As the Orthodox Church is spread out across the U.S., most of the ministries listed are individual Parish ministries, and one Parish Church can do just so much; most of the ministries are once a month or once a year one day or weekend events which are held once a month or once a year.  The Special Olympics Multi-Sport Training Camp at Antiochian Village, Ligonier, Pennsylvania   sponsored by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, is an annual (once a year) week-long event.

But there are some ministries that operate on a continual basis; The Hellenos House (see also Christopher), on Long Island, New York, which is affiliated with The Challenge Liturgy Ministry (see also Ministry Profile), providing a permanent home for seven persons with developmental disabilities.

There is also the Sheltering Tree in Omaha, Nebraska, which also provides housing, day programs, and frequent, periodic activities, both at their Activity Center and out in the community. Their motto is “Serving and empowering people with developmental disabilities.”

 

 

Disability Resources: Articles and Books

There are lots of articles but not so many books. Many of the books listed address people with disabilities as a side topic, and I’ve included some non-Orthodox Christian books that contain Orthodox Christian elements. But the ones that spring from family johnlahutskyrelationships and friendships are inspiring and instructive.

In To Read – Books: 

The Boy from Baby House 10 & Catherine’s Pascha In God’s Hands: A mother’s journey through her infant’s critical illness & Getting My First Hug

The articles are on two different pages, one for individual articles and the other for webpages that contain numerous articles concerning persons with disability:

To read (online articles) & To read (online article collections)

From the article collections, I would recommend beginning with The Orthodox Church of America’s Parish Ministry Resources, especially Parish Development

The individual online articles cover a wide variety of situations and perspectives in regard to disability and the Orthodox Church, as well as the situations and issues Orthodox Christians with disabilities face in this world: their opportunities, dilemmas, and struggles. Look over the list and read a couple of articles which catch your eye. And then feel free to read some more!

 

Disability Resources: Discussions, Videos, Recordings

Orthodox Christian Discussions concerning Disability

You will need to register with orthodoxchristianity.net Monachos.net forums  for their discussions. Search for more; start your own discussion(s)!

The Facebook Pages Koinonia for Exceptional Orthodox Families – Community , Koinonia for Exceptional Orthodox Christian Families, and Deaf Orthodox Christians are ongoing discussions on members’ posts.

To view, to listen to

One of the audio recordings, The Illumined Heart: Orthodox Christian Psychological Therapy , gets to the very heart of the Orthodox Christian way- repentance (“correct our thoughts” from the Prayer of the Hours) for those of us who struggle with our mental health – which is all of us, if we are honest with ourselves.

Other videos and audio recordings address the disabilities of blindness and deafness.  Three of the videos profile monastic orphanages which provide homes for many with developmental disabilities and various other disabilities. See the love that is shared in these places! There is a DVD on autism and a number of audio interviews on family relationships in which one member is an autist as well.

Disability Resource Pages for Study, Research, and Training

Online theses & dissertations

Some of the more substantial offerings:

Church and Social Integration of Disabled People, by PROFESSOR LAVRENDIOS G . DELLASSOUDAS , 32 pp. (2000) – addresses the subject in the context of the country of Greece

THE IMPACT OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NEPTIC-PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONS ON SELF-REPORTED DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMATOLOGY AND COMORBID ANXIETY By the Right Reverend Dr. Andrew (Zoran) Vujisić, Bishop elect of Tralles, for Latin America and the Caribbean ,289 pp. (2009) – addresses the mental health issues of depression and anxiety

Embracing All God’s Children: Orthodox Theology Concerning Disability and Its Implications for Ministry with Special Needs Youth in the Orthodox Church (pdf to download)  by Wendy Cwiklinski, 68 pp. Also: OCN.net: condensed version in 5 parts

Personhood, Human Brokenness and the Therapeutic Calling of the Eastern Orthodox Church: A Pastoral Approach To Mental Health Issues and Disability. Cagnoni, Clare (2009) , 126 pp.

St. John Chrysostom and the Socialization of Persons with Developmental Disability: Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Application, by William Gall , 61 pp.

A Study Course: The Social Ministry of the Church

a home-based, online course of studies, taught by Dr. Robert Hosken and  Cheryl K. Hosken, B.S.N., M.S. Psych. 5 Courses. The  first course is entitled  “Rehabilitation of Children with Disabilities.”

Inclusion Awareness Workbook 

Renewing Our Commitment to Welcoming Worshippers of All Abilities as Active Participants25 pp. Pathways.org. With contributions from Eleni Patos, Maria Kotsinis and Constantine Zografopoulos. Reviewed by His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos.

From the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Families of Children with Special Needs Resource List

Internet Resources, Books and Downloads, Articles, Video, Various Non-Orthodox and Secular Resources. 5 pp.

Arms Open Wide

A 10 year survey and compilation of Orthodox Christian disability resources.

 

 

 

 


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