Local church celebrates individuals with disabilities

A young man named Brien with special needs sings a personally written song to the congregation during Sunday's service.

Local church celebrates individuals with disabilities
September 01
06:25 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



Many people with disabilities, whether physical or mental, are overlooked and sometimes ostracized in today’s society.  As a way to celebrate and bring attention to such individuals, Union Baptist Church held its inaugural “Champions with DisAbilities Sunday” service.

The Champions with DisAbilities Sunday is designed to bring awareness and inclusion for people with all disabilities and to provide support for disability professionals and caregivers.  The service provided an opportunity for disability awareness and a way to educate the congregation together as a whole.  Many people with disabilities who are Christians have talents and richness in their walk with Christ, which would greatly bless those in the church, organizers say.

Pastor Barry Washington of Whole Man Ministries delivered the message during the 11 a.m. service. Washington was injured in an accident years ago and lost the use of his legs. He now uses a wheelchair to get around.

“My accident humbled me and made me more sensitive of others who have disabilities, and as a result of that I hopefully have become a pioneer for God,” said Washington.  “I know that there are many people out there that are going through the same thing I am as far as having a disability.”

During the service, those with disabilities, both mental and physical, were acknowledged. Some of the individuals with disabilities were involved with the service by performing the morning prayer and delivering Scripture readings. Two young men named Omar and Tim performed two original songs for the congregation as well.

Bishop Sir L. Walter Mack Jr., pastor of Union Baptist, said he wanted to bring this topic out because there are many issues inside of the African-American church that are present and are not addressed.

“We have people with disabilities that participate in the worship every Sunday but it’s still treated as something we don’t highlight,” said Mack.  “We need to recognize the fact that they have overcome so much just to get here, and that’s why we call them champions.”

Mack wanted people to know that they should not be shy or apprehensive about their disabilities, especially those with mental issues, because they are somewhat taboo in the black community.  He wanted those individuals to know that Union Baptist is a ministry that cares and will receive them with open arms.

Washington preached about those figures in the Bible that dealt with disabilities, primarily Moses, who dealt with blindness.  He touched on the insecurities that Moses dealt with when speaking with God about the tasks God wanted him to perform.  His point was to tell people that even though you may be dealing with a disability, God has a purpose for you and when you are called, step up to not let your disability hold you back.

“When he [Mack] invited me and asked me to come, I went ahead and jumped on it because I wanted people to know your disability does not have to define you or define who you are,” says Washington.

Mack says he likes to touch on topics that may seem taboo to some because he wants to help bring those with problems and those with solutions together.  Mack concluded by saying, “If a church is in the community and the community doesn’t know they are there, they need to check out their purpose.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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