Disability Sunday Order of Worship

Resources for Order of Worship

The Order of Worship for Disability Awareness Sunday might be similar to other Sundays at your church. You may modify the sample at this website to meet your congregation’s strengths and needs and its focus for the day. Please credit authors.
Visit Scripture, Prayers and Litanies, Songs and Sermons or Disability Awareness Sunday FAQs (MS Word) for more ideas. Consider printing inserts for specific or general Disabilities: Mental Health (pdf) | Deaf H of H  Basic Facts (pdf). Printable, alternative bulletins are at the bottom of this page.

*Call to Worship

LEADER: Lord, how awesome it is that we can gather here today and loudly sing praises to your name, and know we are standing in your presence!
PEOPLE: Lord, I can’t stand. I use a wheelchair and there is no place for my chair.
LEADER: It really is great, Lord, that we are able to hear you speak to us through the proclamation of the word this morning!
PEOPLE: I’m sorry, God. I didn’t hear what was said.
LEADER: And, Lord, it’s so fantastic to be able to read your Word along with the pastor, and to recite the creeds, and litanies.
PEOPLE: This morning my vision is dim, God. I cannot read the bulletin.
LEADER: Lord, we really feel blessed that we understand everything that is happening around us in the church in this hour.
PEOPLE: God, why do I learn so much slower than others, and must feel, week after week, that I do not really belong here?
ALL: Open us, O God. Make us accessible to your Spirit, and accessible to all your people.
Adapted from Rev. Dave Wade

Alternate Call to Worship

LEADER: Let us lift up our many voices and praise the Lord with all our heart.
PEOPLE: Though we come together with differing gifts, talents, and abilities, we all sing of God’s glory.
LEADER: The Psalms tell us of God’s compassion to those who believe.
PEOPLE: Likewise, we seek to be as compassionate and gracious in our community as our Lord is to us.
LEADER: Show compassion and love to your neighbors and enemies.
PEOPLE: With the Lord’s guidance, there will be distinction in our love and kindness towards others.
LEADER: As a community, we can rejoice in the works of the Lord.
PEOPLE: For the works of the Lord are many, and we recognize that we are part of God’s wonderful Creation.
ALL: Amen
(From Virginia Annual Conference, 2017)

*Opening Hymn

He Leadeth Me- Hymn 128 (or select from “Songs”)

Prayer of Confession

Almighty and creating God; we come before you today as people who are separated from one another by fear, prejudice, and ignorance. By our language, actions and facilities we declare insiders and outsiders in our lives and in our church. Forgive us and create in us the vision of opening our hearts, minds, and doors as wide as the love of God, so that no one is left outside. Help us to reach beyond ourselves to discover the joy of community. Give us the patience to discover that all people have gifts and abilities to share with our community of faith. We pray in Jesus name. Amen
Adapted from Southeastern United Methodist Agency for Rehabilitation (SEMAR) 2004

Words of Assurance and Pardon

Old Testament Reading

Isaiah 53:1-5

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised and we held him of no account. He has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

Prayers and Concerns

Presentation of Offerings

(Option: “Loose offering will be donated to Disabiity Ministries”)

The Anthem

*Doxology

The Children’s Message

(Things to think about: Children are curious. Encourage them to ask questions. Give them honest answers. More often than not people with disabilities would rather be asked about their disability than have a curious child stare at them and wonder. Have a child with a disability help with the children’s message. Not as the center of attention, but as an expert on the subject. Ask a child with a disability what they wish people without disabilities knew about them or their disability. Ask the sibling of a child with a disability what they wish the world knew about their brother or sister).

*The Hymn of Preparation

Here I am, Lord — Hymn 593 (or select from “Songs“)

The Gospel Lesson

Mark 2: 3-11 — Through the roof

Then some people* came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven. Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’  At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk?” But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ he said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’

The Message

Things to think about: When planning and writing your sermon, challenge yourself to place an emphasis on the four people who lifted the man who was paralyzed to the roof and then lower him inside. They provide an example of appropriate social interaction and early solutions to structural barriers. Portray individuals with disabilities as people with gifts, talents and abilities. Try to move away from an attitude that people with disabilities need sympathy and healing.

*The Affirmation of Faith

*Hymn of Dedication

Joyful Joyful, We Adore Thee — Hymn 89 (or select from “Songs“)

The Benediction and Sending Forth

On Eagles Wings — Hymn 143 (or select from “Songs“)

Benediction Response

As we seek to have open hearts, open minds and open doors, help us to move beyond opening the door to welcome only those who can climb the steps to enter. Help us to move beyond opening our hearts to love only those who look like us. And help us to move beyond opening our minds to accept only those who think like us. Help us to create an environment, in our church and in our community, where all are welcome.In your name we pray. Amen (Adapted from Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Binford, III)

The Postlude

The Hymn selections can be found in The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989 | The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version
Special Thanks to Dr. David Gray and Rev. Eric Pridmore for their input and expertise
This worship resource was prepared by Jennifer Yound, UMCOR
* Indicates Congregation Stands in spirit or in body

Alternate Orders of Worship and Ideas

Visit  Disability Awareness Sunday Order of Worship (pdf) by Rev. Harriet Wilkin for an alternate service in a printable format.
Visit Virginia Conference Disability Awareness Order of Worship (pdf) for a printable bulletin which includes a service and ideas to move awareness forward through volunteering, or donating funds.

Visit Disability Awareness Sunday FAQs about why and how to implement DisAbility Awareness Sunday services.