No. 78 -- Summer 2020 Vital Link Summer 2020

vital link The Newsletter for Through the Roof Our 300th Roofbreaker A Unique Voice In Lockdown By Fiona Gosden – Deputy Church Inclusion Coordinator Fiona with her government food parcel, before delivery slots were available Learning from Lockdown First Impressions Mozambique Meet-Up Some of you might have seen the widely viewed video I shared at the start of lockdown, which was a response to God prompting me that disabled people have a unique voice to share with the church during this ‘new normal’ season. When God has a message to share, it is important to get it out there! This message had a big reach on social media and through Christian radio stations, which was a great encouragement to me, and to every Roofbreaker, because we believe disabled people are a unique gift to the church because of our lived experience with a disability. Right now, I am ‘shielding’ because I am undergoing medical treatment that compromises my immune system. It’s become clear to me that the isolation everyone is experiencing has been an equaliser between non-disabled and disabled people. Lockdown has put everybody in the same situation, where challenging restrictions on our opportunities, working environment, access to transport, socialising, access to food and pace of life have all been the norm. I have found shielding challenging! I’ve had to accept a new way of life, and I miss meeting family and friends, swimming and physically going to church. However I know that this ‘new normal’ might have been more manageable for me because I’m experienced in having limited choices and opportunities in life, as well as accepting that I can’t keep up with the pace of non-disabled people my age (30). Do you know someone who is disabled, who has felt that nothing much has changed for them during this time of isolation? As the country adjusts the rules on lockdown, and our churches might be talking about returning to meet physically in a ‘COVID-19 secure environment’, we must consider those who cannot physically access church regardless of the virus. I believe that during lockdown, churches have had space to experience a life without access to worshipping together, fellowship and serving in the way they would usually choose. Of course, church is still church when meeting online, and we have heard from disabled people who have been able to access church meetings, small groups, and other offerings for the first time since their church has moved online. We want to celebrate these breakthroughs in inclusion. I think we do need to be careful however, that when churches begin meeting again physically— whenever and however that might be— disabled people will not be suggested to join online church as the sole alternative to attending church. You can find Fiona’s video, and all the other videos or websites mentioned in this issue, at No: No: 60 Summer 78 SUMMER 20142020