Archive for the 'development' Category

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.

 

 

 

 

Disability Resource Pages: Professional, Specialized, and Non-Orthodox Christian Resources

This blog originally was intended to be a resource page; the gathering together of Orthodox Christian disability resources in one place. When I sought to do a thesis on Orthodox Christian resources, I could not find a site that served this purpose. I discussed this with my thesis advisor, and he suggested that I develop a resource site. And for ten years, I have been scouring the internet for Orthodox Christian resources. 

Along the way, I found other resources that were obviously helpful, though not specifically Orthodox Christian disability resources. And I gathered them in one place.

To access the webpage:

professional, specialized, and non-Orthodox Christian Resources

Some of the offerings on this site that I personally feel are especially valuable:

Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche   & L’Arche International

Best Buddies

Family Voices

Guiding Exceptional Parents

Of course, I don’t claim that this is the most comprehensive site, even though one can find a wide range of topics relating to the needs of people with disabilities. Here are some other sites which have been developed which may serve your interest better:

Disability Resources.org

disABILITY Information and Resources

Google Disability Resource Pages

(one could add to this search a specific topic, a specific disability, a specific locale and narrow your search to your specific interest)

OrthodoxAdultAutists: A Letter to the Church

This is a letter from a woman named Monica, an autist. It is a challenge, a plea, to the Orthodox Church to take responsibility for people with autism, mental illness, and developmental disabilities. She writes,

. . . . Church is inclusive in that there are no statements made regarding salvation of people with brain differences, people with mental problems, people whose IQ scores do not reach triple digits etc. Quite the opposite, it is frequently stated that the Church believes that Gods mercy most certainly extends to people such as us, and He’ll know what to do with us.

I fully agree, He certainly will. Yet by stating that God will know what to do with us, you make it abundantly clear that you do not. By stating that because of a disorder, there’s no responsibility for our salvation on our part, and God will know what to do, you basically absolve yourself of responsibility as well.

God will know, we can be sure of that and freely depend on His mercy. Yet what are you doing in the meantime? . . .

She continues:

. . . . We want to grow closer to God, . . .  we just don’t always do well with the available tools, and need a hand finding those that do work. We want to be a part of the Church, and part of our churches. We need your help.

Please read the entire letter; it’s not long. Really, it sums up everything Arms Open Wide is about- developing our Orthodox Christian understanding of how to serve and involve in our Church life, our Divine-human life, the life which is life indeed, both those among us as well as those out there who may well come to be among us who are different, and those who are disabled.

To access:

A Letter to the Church


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