Interested in sharing experiences from different perspectives and life experiences, a group of persons who use wheelchairs, collaborators, and special guests, gathered together in the National Activities Center of the Presbyterian Church (CANIP), to share an ágape moment and look for inclusive strategies from the standpoint of faith.
Convened as part of the programs for action by the Handicapped Persons Pastoral Ministry of the Council of Churches of Cuba (CIC), the gathering had participants from nine Christian denominations who, with the theme, “Worship and serve: a special calling of the Lord,” shared their experiences from a wide ecumenical perspective.
The event, according to a statement by participants, took place “with respect for each other, and with the love, empathy, and companionship that happen, when there is a common faith.”
According to the final evaluation of the gathering, in which the participants joined together their criteria and offered recommendations to the organizers, the natural atmosphere of the camp, located in the center of the island, contributed to the inspirational atmosphere of the liturgical moments, biblical reflection, and analysis of the social reality in which persons who use wheelchairs find themselves.
An important purpose suggested to the CIC Handicapped Persons Pastoral Ministry, headed by Baptist pastor, Rev. Noel Fernández, was the need to increase the level of communication, so that the different experiences can be shared before and after the gathering.
The gathering also looked to deepen the role of the churches in the work of inclusiveness which, from the standpoint of faith, they should assume as a challenge and example before the community.
This pastoral ministry has a broad program of activities and training with wide coverage that is carried out throughout the year, focused on the ethical and Christian values to be promoted, both in the persons with some kind of handicap so as to raise their self-esteem and participation in the congregations and social life, as well as to ensure that the church broadens its vision in terms of meeting the redeeming mandate that Jesus Christ left; that hope is always manifested through concrete acts.