The global economic crisis has had a disproportionate impact on the disabled community, both in the UK and within our churches. Services for the disabled are being drastically cut, leaving service users destitute and abandoned. Due to the high cost of living, they are left to fend for themselves.
Many people are suffering from depression and isolation because of this crisis, in addition to their disability. A simple conversation with a disabled person can help them identify any challenges they are experiencing.
In crisis situations, social support is frequently viewed as a temporary need. People with disabilities face ongoing challenges such as keeping their homes warm and feeding themselves.
The question is, how can we as a church assist disabled members and their surrounding communities in all of this?
When we read 1 John 3:17, it says, “How can anyone love God if he has material possessions and ignores his brother in need?” This motivates us to get involved in helping those in need.
The church must protect the vulnerable. We can help by simply providing simple necessities, such as shopping or offering a lift to church on Sabbaths for church.
Not only must the church members look for disabled people among us, but we must also investigate the community and meet the needs of those who are vulnerable. As Christians, we must go into the community and get to know those who need our help the most, as well as provide for those in need.
Working with charities and volunteering can be an excellent way to meet these needs. Volunteering time and resources to a food and clothing bank is one example of how the members can assist the vulnerable in the community. Providing hot meals for the vulnerable can be a critical part of surviving a crisis, especially if people are struggling. We are supposed to be the community’s pillar as the church.
Saving money is critical to surviving this crisis. Simple things include hanging your clothes on an airer rather than using a tumble dryer, turning off lights or radiators in rooms you don’t use, and turning down the thermostat. Spending less is also important, such as eating at home rather than ordering takeout. Using supermarket reward apps and discounts is another excellent way to save money.
Most of our churches are currently closed during the week and only open on Sabbath and occasionally on Sundays. Opening during the week and involving those that can volunteer their services while assisting in locally community services, can be a great support to families with disabled children.
The current crisis has a negative impact on everyone. By checking on the vulnerable and conversing with a disabled person can help them identify problems they are facing. And we can also simply be a friend to others in these troubled times.
Let us use this current global event as an opportunity in making disciples. In doing so, many people will become aware of our Saviour’s saving grace.
Jacqueline Otokpa is the Women’s Ministries and Possibility Ministries Director for the SEC