Living into the Body of Christ
The General Assembly is invited to begin where its advisory committee began, by affirming that the church include children, youth, and adults with disabilities, while acknowledging that not every Christian community recognizes its potential for ministry. Hence, a task force of volunteers was asked to develop policy and recommendations for the church to work for justice with persons who have disabilities, both within the church itself and the wider social order. A consultation with informed Presbyterians drawn from the synods enriched the work. This policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) confirms that the church—the Body of Christ—is to be a fully inclusive body in all dimensions of its life. To that end, the policy begins with a necessarily comprehensive set of recommendations.
Please note that “people” or “persons” are always spoken of first, before mention of “with disabilities,” or a similar phrase, throughout the opening “vision,” the recommendations section, and the background study rationale on which the recommendations are based. This “people first” language expresses the priority of our shared humanity. And for us as Christians, it underlines that our primary identity is found in Christ, not in social labels or medical designations.