Disability & Special Needs Ministry

"All That May Worship" -- February 2019

Bible Verse of the Day

“Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”.

John 10:7, 9-10

“Welcome to the Seventh (7th) and combined January & February 2019 editions of the of Gulf States Conference’s Disability & Special Needs Ministry newsletter”. We hope these newsletters will pique your interest enough to contact our office and schedule a “Disability or Special Needs Day” or day” for your church. We will provide professional expertise in both training and presentation of our programs and workshops.

2019 Training

Because this ministry is relatively new in the Gulf States Conference, we will be concentrating the bulk of calendar year 2019 providing training for our pastors, leaders, and members. Selective churches will host these sessions, and the plan is to have them streamed so that the busiest can still participate. Proof of participation will be provided via a certificate of completion on-site and online.

We will also include informational tools online so churches can use them to help make their churches accessible. These informational tools will cover areas such as "How to make your church accessible; “Attitudinal barriers”; “Hidden/Invisible Disabilities”; “How to start a disability ministry in your church”; and more. We will eventually add online fillable forms to request services or information from us.

Although each edition of our newsletter will cover a specific disability area, we will continue to address outstanding inquiries and concerns as the information becomes available. Because some disability categories are so complex, we will not endeavor to provide analytical information. Our goal is to provide up-to-date information on disability related events and snapshot information on the seven (7) major areas of disability

Our last edition provided a snapshot on Speech & Language Disabilities”. So far, we have snapshots on all except the “Cognitive Disabilities”. We will cover that in 2019’s second 2nd edition. The February edition will generic in nature, providing helpful information for disabled persons.

Wheel Chair User Tips

I discovered several helpful tips from the “United Spinal Association” website for those of us who use wheelchairs, Powerchair, or scooters. Check these tips out at their web site address of https://unitedspinal.org/winter-weather-wheelchair-tips/

1. Keep a set of knobby winter tires on your wheelchair during the winter. If you use a manual wheelchair, then keep an extra set of quick mount wheels with snow tires mounted on them handy. Pop them on as needed and get a bit of a rolling edge.

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2. If you are a powerchair user, remember that cold weather is harder on batteries and your normal cruising range (on a full charge) may be greatly diminished. Batteries will also drain quicker with the increased load of pushing you and your wheelchair through even light snow. Top that off with the power drain caused by poor traction and your potential range really takes a hit. Make sure that your batteries are fully charged before going out, and make sure you don’t travel too far from home.

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3. If your wheelchair controller (joystick) is not waterproof (and many are not), cover it with a joystick cover or a plastic bag. If you’re out while it’s snowing, and water from melting snow or ice finds its way into your controller, you’re going to be in a real bind.
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4. Don’t forget to do the same for yourself. Wear warm water resistant clothes and outerwear that leaves no skin exposed. Definitely wear gloves! If you’re a manual wheelchair user, you are going to be pushing metal push-rims in freezing weather. You can’t do that for long with bare skin.

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Dressing in several thin layers is a good solution for wheelers who don’t like the bulky feeling and the restriction caused by thick clothing. As an added benefit, layers retain heat better than a single garment and the outer layer can be shed if the weather improves.

5. We all know that you shouldn’t be wheeling around in the street, but reality often leaves no choice. Darkness sets in early during winter months, snow may still be falling, there may be no sidewalks or they may not have been cleared of snow. You and your wheelchair are going to be hard to spot. Try this to improve being seen- Get your hands on a number of small battery operated lights and do a temporary mount with Velcro, wire ties, small clamps, to each side of your wheelchair. Give others a chance to see you first.
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6. Fully charge your smart phone and take it with you. Wheelchairs can tip, roll, and skid into places that you can’t get out of. Being able to call for help is a priceless option.
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Published by

George Hamilton

Assistant Disability Ministry Director

Gulf States Conference of Seventh-day Adventists


Support pastors and local church disabilities ministry coordinators in setting up programs to improve in the including people with disabilities in worship, work, service and leadership, and provide current information and resources on disability related issues for church leaders.

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