Over the August bank holiday we joined the ONE event, a Christian festival organised by the Ground level network of churches, held on the Lincolnshire showground each year. This year around 4,000 people gathered over the scorching summer weekend to enjoy the festival, along with a team of volunteers and Livability staff who lead a stream of meetings each year for people with learning disabilities.
We followed this year’s ONE event theme of ‘Multiplication’ asking for ‘More faith’, ‘More joy’ and ‘More love’. The meetings went at a good pace, including elements of worship, teaching, activities, discussion, to build an understanding of the topic. Guests at the celebrations were excited to be there and participated fully in all that was happening.
Each morning the meetings were joined by special guests who wrote a new song for the weekend and taught the group more elaborations on it each day. One Way puppets also came and reinforced our theme in a very entertaining way! We did a variety of craft activities, including decorating linen bags to save plastic, and making mirrors.
The afternoons’ seminars were a particular highlight and were well attended and open to everybody. We believe that this amazing turn out reflects that there is a growing awareness of the need to include everyone, regardless of disability, in all aspects of church life.
Mat, Livability’s head of church partnerships, led a session on ‘The Bible and Disability’, provoking lively discussion and inspiring the formation of an inclusive Whatsapp group ‘Disability and the church’. Jennifer, Livability church partnerships manager, led on ‘Prayer and Disability’ and the third session we ran on the weekend involved a panel gathered together to launch a discussion on inclusion and participation.
Throughout the sessions across the weekend there was an exciting buzz and fantastic engagement from those who attended. People who came seemed grateful to have a forum to express themselves, learn from others and the topics we covered received positive feedback. The event was a great opportunity for people to share experiences and create new networks surrounding disability and church.
It is an excellent experience for Livability to be at ONE – see you there next year?
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