Revd Malcolm Duncan, senior pastor at Goldhill Baptist Church speaks of his encounter with a family on the birth of their child with a profound disability. Whilst downhearted members of the congregation want to pray for the couple, Malcolm sees a story of Hope and Joy.
There are 1.5 million people in the UK living with learning disabilities. Despite medical advances in screening, 200 babies are born every week with a learning disability.
Jesus’ ministry, in his life and death, is summed up in the theme of love for those in need. His story fleshes out the character and direction of his love.
It is inclusive, compassionate, practical and persistent, but never patronising or oppressive – it gives others space to be and to grow. According to St John’s Gospel ch.13, Jesus’ disciples are called to love and serve one another in the same manner.
The Church is therefore called to welcome, accept and empower people with learning disabilities in ways that are inclusive, compassionate, practical and persistent. They are loved by God and invited to be members of the body of Christ. That means that love must be expressed in the acceptance of all people as equal in their difference.