• Practical Workshop
    Why You Shouldn’t Start a Disability Ministry (Yet)
    Alicine Grochowski

    This workshop helps Christian faith communities reconceptualize faithful adherence to and implementation of orderly corporate worship in the 21st-century Canadian context as it intersects with ministries seeking to disciple individuals with disabilities. It explores if the local church is ready to pursue the real and meaningful transformation of its relationship to orderly corporate worship through the journey of a neurodivergent early childhood educator, support worker, children’s ministry worker, and disability ministry coordinator of fourteen years. Through encounters with the exclusionary practices involved in didactic curriculum design, developmentally inappropriate expectations, lacking conceptual models for spiritual development, and the real-world implications of disciplining individuals with disabilities in intellectual and physical spaces whose beliefs regarding orderly worship prioritize product over the process I caution local churches to reflect on their faith community and its approach to discipleship in these processes and spaces. As a result, this workshop seeks to encourage local churches desiring to engage in disability ministry to deeply examine if their theological relationship with orderly worship considers all peoples in its worship services and how that relationship can exclude people with disabilities who ‘present’ with ‘the lack of order.’

    Alicine has been a part of the SouthRidge Fellowship community since 2011. She has served at SouthRidge as a Children’s Ministry Coordinator and is currently the Formation Support Coordinator for SouthRidge’s ministry for children with disabilities. She also spends most of her week as an early childhood educator at Brace Spaces in Langley. She is dedicated to developing and implementing faith-based experiences that consider diversity, disability, divergency and developmentally appropriate approaches to the discipleship of families and their children. She also likes cats.