To those whom may be interested to know about the current work of the UCC Disability Ministries Board–Friends, UCC Members, UCC Clergy, UCC persons with disability and our ecumenical partners,
This is to provide you with an update of the work of the UCC Disability Ministry (UCCDM) Board of Directors since our last update published in October 2013.
After much discernment, in late November 2013 the UCCDM Board voted that effective January 1, 2014, the Mental Health Network would be its own entity rather than a sub-committee of UCCDM. We look forward to both the continued flourishing of the UCC Mental Health Network (UCCMHN) and the on-going collaboration between the UCCDM and UCCMHN. For full details please see the Press Release UCCDM and UCCMHN. UCCDM will be returning MHN designated funds to UCCMHN as well as providing additional funds to support this newly independent ministry.
The Widening the Welcome conferences have been a successful collaboration of the UCCDM and UCCMHN. The UCCDM has received some requests from local churches to use the Widening the Welcome name and logo. After discussion, it has been decided that use of the Widening the Welcome name and logo will not be granted to other entities or individual congregations, and that the Widening the Welcome name and logo will continue to be the designation used only to indicate the collaboration between UCCDM and UCCMHN. The next Widening the Welcome Conference has not been scheduled at this time.
In our October update we noted three main foci for 2013-2014, here is an update:
Relationships-UCCDM has strengthened relationship with UCCMHN as the UCCDM Chair is now participating in monthly meetings of the UCCMHN.
Relationships-UCCDM has started to explore ways to strengthen relationships with members of the UCC interested in Disability Ministry. Board Meetings as always are open to UCC Members. If you have ideas of how UCCDM may further interact with UCC members please contact the UCCDM Board.
Accessible to All (A2A)-UCCDM has discussed with the national setting how to include A2A ideals in general UCC curriculum. This continues to be a challenge and the UCCDM is discussing creating its own curriculum content. If you would like to volunteer and have skills in creating curriculum content please contact the UCCDM Board.
In October we also noted on-going foci for 2013-2014, here is an update:
Scholarship Funds–UCCDM subcommittee for the Virginia Kreyer Scholarship has reached out to others identified as interested in fundraising to explore a major fundraiser for the Virginia Kreyer Scholarship. $34,000 needs to be raised in 2014. If you would like to assist with fundraising please, contact the UCCDM Board.
Website–The UCCDM website has been updated and this continues to be a work-in-progress. A2A congregations and Conferences are now listed on the website. A2A resources are now easier to find. A frequently asked questions page has been added. Blog contributions have been requested. If you you believe you have original blog content related to disability ministry to contribute please contact the UCCDM Board.
Ecumenical Work–UCCDM Board Member, Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, served as a representative at the Ecumenical Disability Advocacy Network (EDAN) Pre-Assembly of the World Council of Church General Assembly. Rev. Parrish Lucas also served as one of four UCC delegates to the World Council of Churches General Assembly in Busan, South Korea. UCCDM continues to recognize its leadership in disability ministry within the ecumenical movement, as such UCCDM continues see a need for sending people with disabilities as leaders and delegates to ecumenical gatherings and working groups.
By-laws–UCCDM subcommittee on by-laws has begun the work of updating the UCCDM by-laws in preparation for the future of the UCCDM within the new Unified Board structure of the denomination. It is hoped that revised by-laws will lend themselves to the potentiality of 501(c)3 status. The subcommittee hopes to complete a proposed revision of the by-laws by the end of summer 2014.
In addition to the work of the DM Board, individual Board Members continue to teach and advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities and mental health concerns at the local congregation, Association, and Conference levels of the UCC. We would love to hear about the work that you, the members of the UCC and friends of UCCDM, are doing in disability ministry in your context. This is story of the UCCDM Board, would you send us your story?
Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas
UCCDM Secretary 2012-2014