Disability Leadership Academy
The United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities met earlier this month in Washington, D.C. for a conference titled, "Taking Our Place at the Table: Disability Leadership Academy."
Participants discussed ways to strengthen their leadership, improve relationships with the general agencies of the denomination, and address issues relating to ordination candidates with disabilities.
The associate also released a purpose statement:
We the people of the United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities (UMAMD) affirm the sacred worth of persons with disabilities as whole persons made in the image of God. For years, people with disabilities have been discouraged, excluded, and denied as we have sought places at the table as equals with full participation in all that the life of the church offers.
Therefore, we now claim our right to take our places at the many tables at all levels of the UMC. To prepare the table that all may be fully included, the UMAMD will provide leadership to:
1 — Educate the church about the many and diverse gifts of people with disabilities for ordained and lay ministries that will strengthen the church.
2 — Advocate for people with disabilities, both lay and clergy, as we seek places at the table in seminaries, the local church, annual conferences, jurisdictions, and the general boards and agencies of the church.
3 — Support and provide connections and links between the church and people with disabilities, coming alongside conference disability ministries committees and the DisAbility Ministries Committee of the UMC as we work together toward full inclusion. To that end, we also support clergy and candidates for ministry who have disabilities in facing the persisting barriers to living out God’s call.
We call on the church to engage with us in this effort to achieve full equality. We further call upon the church, its annual conferences, and the general boards and agencies to identify funding to support this important work.
Read a more thorough report of the conference on their blog.