Creating the Right Space – CBM (Panel)

Considerations for creating spaces that are inclusive of people with different levels of ability:

  • Want belonging and feeling treated the same/normal even though we know we’re not
  • Eye contact but NOT staring
  • Participation not about my disability – wanting to engage like everybody else
  • Fundamental dignity: each of us have something to share/contribute
  • Atmosphere – feel connected
  • Send lyrics/talk text in advance and can direct it into Braille or audio myself (needs to be communicated if this is available and PDFs aren’t readable by the programmes)
  • Everyone should be respected as a beloved son/daughter of God – I want to contribute to Christian community > able to share gifts
  • Talk to me not around me as if I’m not here e.g. “Will she have tea?”
  • Need space to be honest about how we feel – don’t pray away my feelings
  • Have communion where they do (with them) e.g. if someone can’t access the alter – don’t just bring them theirs but have yours with them where they are
  • Push in a little bit – there is fear (of being pushed away, rejected, condescended to…)
  • How do you know you’re “in”? On a roster, invited home for lunch, take the communion cup around in my wheelchair.
  • Regular time, place and routine for L’Arche rhythms (known and familiar)
  • Can’t find love, can’t find friendship. Government can’t do that > spiritual communities are REALLY important
  • Care-fronting sometimes with a conversation
  • Time “efficiency” need to allow room for the spirit… can’t plan things. Let it be what it is. Let [people be themselves in their fullness (where people might talk more slowly or move more slowly… let their pace be OK)
  • LABELS: Don’t freak out about it. Don’t let it be your barrier to talking with me. Have names for us too “sighties” and “Sight-trash” – it is a characteristic of who I am like having brown hair. Unhelpful…. handicapped, sufferer of…, carry a cross, disorder… use person-first language. “wheelies” and “cripps” like “queer” turning this language around to a positive framework named and claimed. If you have a relationship with me, let me use the word for myself and learn from listening. In safe space don’t need a label to feel safe but sometimes in public we do (paradox) – label can be the easiest way to get empathy/understanding when someone is behaving in unexpected ways.
  • We have outsourced care and compassion e.g. Cert IV in disability – what would it mean to engage with me directly.


  • Physical things – steps/access/etc. and atmosphere
  • Bad theology praying for us to be healed/whole > need to confront that. What do you think that says about my lived experience?
  • “Perfect” Jesus still bore scars from the wounds on his body – perfect in imperfection.
Parables of Non-Violence – Transfiguration Community (Bible Study)

‘Making Things Right’: the call to be agents of reconciliation, peacemakers, restorers of broken relationships. How?

  1.  What/who are the obstacles, the enemies, the hindrances to peace and reconciliation? Ego, culture, systems, celebrity, technology…

BIBLICAL: Portrait of the Enemy – Do we even know it? Do we take the existence of evil seriously?

  1. How do we resist these?
  1. Contemplative practice:
    • first disarm your own heart
    • the wrestling is not with flesh and blood but spiritual (the aim in wrestling is not to bring your opponent down but to remain standing yourself)
    • the arena is within us
    • then change from the inside out will happen

BIBLICAL: Jesus’ Temptation in the Desert (in the desert you have to answer some questions)

  1. Danger of outer journey without inner journey
  2. Story of 3 brothers: 2 activist, 1 contemplative

How does the kingdom of God come? How does lasting change happen (repentance)? Not by programs, ideas, ideologies or our mind being in control.

  1. Slow
  2. Hidden, in secret
  3. Non-violent, harmless growth or gestation
  4. Internal
  5. Surprising and inevitable fruit, in the face of formidable obstacles

Like a joke, pint is in the last line – fruit comes at the end.

Non-violence and love are the same. Self-emptying love – no power or manipulation of any kind: mental, emotional, physical…

Using power “for the best” > controlling

  • Ask forgiveness (brothers and sisters don’t walk away from me, walk towards me)
  • Daily discipline
  • Have to listen

Being silent re-sensitises us to what is really happening, awareness, intuition, feeling… Going in to look at God leads you to look at others. Can’t only breathe in, have to breathe out.


Contemplative Space: The Cave/Gregg Morris

A stoic mind and a bleeding heart
You never see my bleeding heart

And your light’s always shining on
And I’ve been traveling oh so long
I’ve been traveling oh so long

A constant reminder of where I can find her
Light that might give up the way
Is all that I’m asking for without her I’m lost
Oh my love don’t fade away

Mumford and Sons (lyrics)