The United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities met October 5-8, 2009, at the Perkins School of Theology, Dallas.

Attendees: William (Bill) Downing, Nancy Webb, Sharon Burniston, John A. Carr, John and Lisa McKee, Lynn Swedberg, Jennifer Yound, Kirk VanGilder, Eric Pridmore, Lisa Pridmore, Russell Ewell, Al Herzog, Greg Edwards, Evy McDonald, John Elliott, Tom Hudspeth, Bruce Birch, Bill Fentum, Liz Moen, Patricia Magyar and Carol Stevens.

On the evening of October 5 we gathered for a dinner and sharing of introductions with Bishop Peggy Johnson.

The following morning we began at 9:30 with opening devotions and an official greeting from the University. After more sharing of our individual histories and how we came to ministry we were enriched with a Bible Study and discussion that was lead by Dr. Bruce Birch. Discussion continued after lunch. Dr. Birch's insights into disabilities in the Bible and our reflections were valuable.

Late in the afternoon, we reviewed the ATS Disabilities Policy Statement and we reflected on the initial set of bi-laws for APCM (furnished by Rev. John Carr). There was much discussion around changing our name. We wanted to broaden our name to more accurately reflect who we were and who we hoped to become. Our new name: United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities.

Wednesday October 7th was when we officially adopted our new name. We led Chapel Service with Dr. Birch delivering the message. In the afternoon we continued a visioning process that had become in the morning.

Our final statement which drew together the parts of the vision was: UMAMD is a caucus within the United Methodist Church whose purpose is to reach out to others with disabilities that our in ministry. As an organization we are committed to remembering the journey of the past and developing a vision based on a solid Biblical and Theological framework which will form the foundation of our work.

OUR GOALS

  • be a resource for other individuals and conferences in The United Methodist system;
  • grow in membership through networking,
  • be a tangible presence in our own conferences and at General Conference,
  • build solidarity by being in mission to better the circumstances of people with disabilities,
  • resourcing as a foundational piece, which will allow us to grow through creating a tangible presence in all conferences.
  • We will meet our goals through the methods listed under UM Connectionalism, Resourcing and Development.

REMEMBRANCE AND VISION

  • Acknowledge that the church has ignored those with disabilities
  • A Biblical foundation statement
  • A theological foundation statement

BUILDING SOLIDARITY AND MISSION

  • To affect the circumstances of persons with disabilities worldwide
  • Broaden presence to General Church (international)
  • Connect with other disability groups beyond the church
  • Form alliances with other caucuses
  • Identify allies

UMC CONNECTIONALISM

  • Disability presence in all annual conferences
  • Needed legislation
  • Develop serious advocacy presence to represent ministers dealing with the system
  • Dialogue with church leadership
  • Early contact with ministerial candidates with disabilities; Exploration, Campus Ministries, GBHEM
  • Connect with Boards and agencies
  • Leadership and areas of leadership

RESOURCING

  • External communication system
  • Workshops
  • Webpage
  • Tangible presence: web, brochure, speakers bureau, training

DEVELOPMENT

  • Face-to-face meetings — regional and national
  • Internal communication system
  • Money-cash flow
  • Who is our audience?
  • Members and grassroots organizing (diversity)
  • Find & recruit
  • Statistics (valuable and important for developing need)
  • To monitor inclusion of persons with disabilities in ministry
  • Resourcing, remembering, and vision were our core blocks.

After our visioning workshop we concluded the day with further discussion in the new direction we were heading and the initial steps we would take to get there. Tim Vermande, though not present, would be our secretary and assist with website development. Eric Pridmore and Evy McDonald would continue as co-chairs and Greg Edwards will be the treasurer.

Submitted by
Rev. Dr. Evelyn (Evy) McDonald