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TitleAnglican Churches Engaging with People Living with Disabilities
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Document Text Contents
Page 1

Anglican Churches Engaging with

People Living with Disabilities

By Monica Short

With an essay by Dr Louise Gosbell

Page 2

Anglican Churches Engaging with People
Living with Disabilities

With an essay by Dr Louise Gosbell

By Monica Short

Page 107


six churches appeared to take seriously sharing
God’s abundant grace and their resources with
others. They appeared not to be side-tracked by
thorny debates about evangelism and the societal
dimensions of mission5 (that are outside the scope
of this book). These churches were developing
rural Christian communities in which all could
belong with dignity throughout their lifespan and
experiences. Participants indicated that, through
teaching the gospel, their churches gave people
living with disabilities the opportunity for hope, a
Christian identity and a mission to invite others from
within their personal networks into their Christian
community. This strongly counteracted ideas that
people who do not live with disabilities help or
change ‘the disabled’ [135], or providing charity, pity
or any negative implication. None of these actions
result in true belonging. The following subsections
expand upon these points.

5 Bosch skilfully and thoughtfully explained such debates in Transforming mission: Paradigm

shifts in theology of mission [134].

Page 108


Belonging Builds Up Everyone6 [107]

Friendship, socialising, love and belonging were
recurrent themes in the interviews. Existing in
community brings dimensions of warmth, sharing
[121] and belonging. Belonging is an appreciation
of location in networks and neighbourhoods that
sustain and create space for others to join [136].

Maslow highlighted the importance of
belonging and argued that ‘if both the physiological
and the safety needs are fairly well gratified, then
there will emerge the love and affection and
belongingness (sic) needs... Now the person will feel
keenly, as never before, the absence of friends, or a
sweetheart… or children.’ (Maslow, 1943, para 34).
Everyone needs to belong.

Belonging is greater than caring for someone
living with a disability [137] and is greater than
being included [138]. It involves sharing life in
a relationship, creating trust, building a mutual
identity and being in a community together.
6 Part of this subsection was originally printed in the article Belonging: Social work, sociological

and theological insights into engagements with people living with disabilities by Monica Short

in the 2017 Winter AASW NSW Branch Newsletter on disability, p. 29. The author is grateful to

AASW NSW Branch for permission to reprint the information here.

Page 214


Appendix B:
Semi-structured Interview Themes

The semi-structured interviews closely followed
relationism’s five relational domains [155]. These five
domains can be summarised as:
The contact or directness of communication
time—the frequency and length of the relationship
multiplexity—the context of meetings or church
servicespower and parity—mutual respect and
fairness within the relationship purpose—the shared
goals and values and experience of those in the
relationship [155, 156].

Appendix C: Ethics Approval

Ethics was approved by Charles Sturt University
Ethics Board on the 11 December 2015 and
extended with variations on the 29 June 2016. The
ethics protocol number is 100/2015/140. The Bush
Church Aid Society also approved the research.

Page 215


Monica Short Principal Researcher and
Principal author

I am a member of the Anglican
Church of Australia and a
Christian. Disability is of both
personal and professional
importance to me. As a result, I
integrated insider (emic) and
external (etic) knowledge into
this project. Personally, I am
proud of my family members

who have loved and nurtured me while navigating
their impairments and/or chronic health conditions
and I thank God for them.

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