Rev’d Dr John Gillibrand – Disability

Rev John GillibrandJohn is the Father of a severely autistic child and his reflections on social action have come from this experience (see the national autism website www.autism.org.uk) We need to be pushing the boundaries for the Kingdom of God rather than pushing at the boundaries, this is not just about holding the line.

Social justice is not just for individuals but also for the Church as a whole, the Body of Christ. Mission Action Plans: there should never be a MAP without a social justice element; this is central to the Gospel.

Three key elements of social action:

1: Theological reflection

John has worked through this in his book Disabled Church Disabled Society.

Reflection has to be before during and after social action. It needs to move beyond sacred and secular to a point beyond both

2: Political action

As a Christian – but it did not need a Christian John founded All Party Autism Group in Wales.

Don’t be afraid of party politics – we cannot be ‘above all that’. In an age of austerity we need to ask ‘What can’t be cut?’ The reality is that disabled people depend on human rights.

3: Action through the church

The Church in Wales has been hugely supporting and the disabled person’s mantra has been heeded; ‘nothing about us without us’.

We need to consider the ministry OF disabled people not ‘to’ or even just ‘with’. We need to be a genuinely inclusive Church. Do we have a medical model of healing? Jesus was in the midst of his people and people found healing through their own faith

Listen to John’s talk