Yesterday we talked about Bethesda and the partnerships that exist out there to help the handicapped and to build facilities and group homes around the world but especially in the Dominican Republic. I opened by talking about the ‘booklet’. I had to go back and look at this little production. There really were some good things in there for ‘back in the day’. There were some theological foundation ideas that were very good if I do say so myself. There is a particularly helpful section on teaching confirmation classes to folks with disabilities. But one thing stuck out and that was the statistic that I started with – “statistics tell us that there is one ‘handcapped individual for every so called “able-bodied”. That means that in the North Dakota District alone there should be 240 handicapped people in 97 congregations. Where are they – do we see them at worship?
That was an interesting statement to go back and look at because we don’t have 97 congregations anymore and I would guess that we don’t have 24000 members anymore either. But the statistics haven’t changed as far as I know.
This was back in the day when “deinstitutionalization” was the big deal and group homes were coming into the picture. The booklet was meant ot address what I thought at the time would be a need, and that was a congregation that suddenly found these new visitors in their midst and wondered how to deal with it. Anyway I have heard from some that they used the book to good effect. Pastors had them in their offices. If you have one lying around or used it please let me know.