Disability & Special Needs Ministry

August/September 2019

That All May Worship


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off very weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT)

“Welcome to the Ninth (9th) August/September 2019 edition of the Gulf States Conference (GSC) “Disability & Special Needs Ministry Newsletter”. Future editions will be published on a bi-monthly basis. We hope these newsletters will inspire you to contact us and schedule a “Disabilities” & Special Needs” day for your church emphasizing the “Possibilities” for affected persons. We provide professional presentations & training for our programs and seminars.

Although each edition of our newsletter may cover a specific disability category, we will continue to address outstanding concerns as they develop. Because disability categories are complex, we will not endeavor to provide analytical information. We will provide up-to-date information on related events and snapshot information on the seven (7) major categories.

Because this is a relatively new ministry in GSC, we will concentrate the remainder of 2019 and the first half of 2020 to provide training for Pastors, department heads, and members. Selective churches will host these sessions, and our plan is to have them live-streamed so that all pastors can still participate.

2019's First Live-streamed program & seminar

Possibilities Ministry

Saturday, Nov. 2nd, 9:30am

6258 Mississippi 39

Meridian, MS

GSC’s first live-streamed program will be at the Community Church in Meridian, MS.

Our special guest speaker for Divine Worship will be none other than Larry Evans, Assistant to the President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, for Special Needs & Disabilities Ministries. He will concentrate on Mental Impairments emphasizing the growing ADHD/Asperger’s dilemma.

See the promotional video below and learn more about the event (including how to RSVP for the free lunch) at www.gscsda.org/possibility

Possibilities Ministry: Aspergers, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum


Larry Evans, our General Conference Director for Special Needs & Disability Ministry, is encouraging the modification of our seven (7) major disability categories to include additional categories that have been overlooked.







Speech Language



The Blind

The Deaf



Orphans & Vulnerable Children



The last three (3) are areas that have been personally experienced by many of us. Consequently, the coming months will be filled interacting with our General Conference (GC), North American Division (NAD), & Southern Union Conference (SUC) directors on defining, and implementing these changes.


A vision impairment means that even with correction, your ability to see is reduced. Low visual acuity and blindness are two types of visual impairments. What's considered as legal blindness varies from country to country. Causes of vision impairments include diabetic retinopathy, eye injuries, and cataracts.

What Is Vision Impairment

A vision impairment refers to when you lose part or all of your ability to see (or vision). The impairment must persist even with the use of eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery.

Vision Impairment Types

The way in which vision impairments are classified differs across countries. The World Health Organization (the WHO) classifies visual impairment based on two factors: the visual acuity, or the clarity of vision, and the visual fields, which is the area from which you are able to perceive visual information, while your eyes are in a stationary position and you are looking straight at an object.

The Snellen Chart is used to test visual acuity. Your visual acuity is calculated using two numbers. The first number is the distance between the person reading the chart and the chart. The second number is the distance that a person with normal vision would have to stand from an object to see what you did at 20 feet. For example, a visual acuity of 20/80 means that you can read the chart from 20 feet away as well as a person who could read the chart from 80 feet away. In other words, what a person with normal vision would see from 80 feet away, you can't see until you move closer to only 20 feet away. This image shows the crossover between the eyes in order to create the visual fields.

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Three Types of Vision Impairments

The types of vision impairments are low visual acuity, blindness, and legal blindness (which varies for each country):

• Low visual acuity, also known as moderate visual impairment, is a visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/400 with your best corrected vision, or a visual field of no more than 20 degrees

• Blindness is a visual acuity of 20/400 or worse with your best corrected vision, or a visual field of no more than 10 degrees

• Legal blindness in the United States is a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse with your best corrected vision or a visual field of no more than 20 degrees.


Published by

George Hamilton

Assistant Disability Ministry Director

Gulf States Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

H. 256-883-7751

C. 850-543-1398

E. gsc-disability@gscsda.org


Memo from Disability Ministries Director

I'm looking forward to working with each Church in the Gulf States Conference to become even more aware of the opportunities that can be experienced when accommodating members and visitors who have special needs. Much of Christ's ministry was to the persons who meet the criteria for the 7 categories mentioned above. Jesus sought those who needed help and healed them. What an opportunity we have as churches to minister to those who have special needs - and to empower and equip them to carry out the Gospel Commission.

Thank you, George, for putting these newsletters together and for assisting Gulf States Conference as we increase this ministry presence in our conference. God has called us to love one another, to bear one another's burdens, to find the lost sheep, etc. God wants us to be involved with people.

I look forward to being invited to your church someday soon, so we can assist you and your fellow members how to enhance your church's ministry to those with special needs -- together we can make a difference, touch lives, and be builders of His kingdom!

Martin Fancher,

Disabilities Director, GSC

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Possibilities Ministry: Aspergers, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum

Saturday, Nov. 2nd, 9:30am-4pm

6258 Highway 39 N, Meridian, Mississippi 39305

Join Larry R Evans, DMin, Assistant to the President - Special Needs Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, as he shares how we are all created in the image of God regardless of our limitations. You are a possibility.

How can we best reach and teach those with Aspergers, ADHD, or are on the Autism Spectrum? Come and learn with us.

Reid Soria - "Autism Sings" - will have a spiritual concert in the afternoon, and his mother will share what it was like raising a child on the Autism Spectrum.

For more information: www.gscsda.org/possibility

Disabilities & Special Needs Ministry Goals

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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