Short & sweet.
Later this month at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Annual Gathering here in Winston-Salem, I have the opportunity to present on the subject of CBF churches being spaces of advocacy for those in our communities with either physical or mental disabilities. As of now, CBF has no official statement on the matter.
How do I know this?
Last semester I found myself in a class entitled Theology and Disability, an eyebrow-raising course to say the least. One of my assignments was to provide my denomination’s resources, only I couldn’t find any…Odd, right?
At first, I thought this might have something to do with local autonomy. Baptist congregations possess the first and last word on the actions of their churches, and perhaps the vagueness I was discovering was the result of such. Yet, on further investigation, I discovered American Baptist and even the Southern Baptist Convention have statements regarding recognition of persons with disabilities.
On March 16th at Knollwood Baptist Church I and others will share our stories around this issue. My intent is to not craft or produce a statement for CBF to adopt but, through personal narratives, declare why CBF needs to address a gaping hole in their advocacy movement. While certain churches and individuals affiliated with the Fellowship have offered supportive spaces, the “denomi-network” as whole finds itself 25 years late to an important conversation.
I personally invite you to join a discussion concerning the need for CBF-affiliated churches to begin the process of adopting language, creating spaces, and seeking innovative worship practices in the hope of cultivating authentic advocacy for those with physical and mental disabilities.
Come and listen. Come and be heard.
See you at the Gathering.