April 25 had been set aside as a special day on our Church calendars. It was to be Possibilities Ministries Day. But by the end of April, churches were just getting into the way of worshipping online and conferences were adjusting to working remotely as much as possible. And perhaps, in some of our churches, this special day was unheard of or overlooked.
Which is ironic, given what the day was designed to be.
A day to remember those in your church with a special need—mental or physical, and their families—a day to celebrate and realise their special contribution and place in our personal and church lives. It is a day to highlight the full inclusion and integration of all in our church programs and life, and to demonstrate Christian care for their families.
Adventist Possibility Ministries (APM) is the General Conference’s ministry to those with special needs. It’s is a life-changing ministry, says Dr Larry Evans, who coordinates the ministry worldwide. While worldwide APM includes seven broad ministry categories—to the Deaf, the blind, the physically challenged, the emotionally and mentally challenged, orphans and vulnerable children, the widowed, and caregivers—in the South Pacific Division (SPD) not all are directly relevant and serves only the blind and deaf communities.
APM’s motto encapsulates its underlying principle, that All are gifted, needed and treasured! And it is to afford this that the special Sabbath is aimed.
Those unable to see or hear, walk or communicate have been referred to as the “disabled.” While it’s important to recognise one’s limitations, being identified this way is disrespectful and demoralising to a person’s self-perception. It draws attention to what a person cannot do or doesn’t have rather than what they can, the possibilities that lie before them. This day is about changing that perspective, demonstrating care and inclusion. It is about helping individuals, regardless of physical, emotional, or mental limitations, discover their untapped “possibilities.”
Start planning for next year. Possiblitiies Day falls on the last Sabbath of April. Christian Services for the Blind and Hearing Impaired (CSFBHI)* is your go-to entity in the SPD for resources and program ideas for Possibilities Day programs. Develop a program that includes the special people in your church in a positive and natural way, one that honours them and their families. And do what you can to make this a very special day, indeed.
* CSFBHI provides audio books and Sabbath School lessons for the blind, closed captioning of video resources and signing interpreters for the Deaf, and hearing augmentation equipment for the hard of hearing.