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Parish helps the disabled

1990-05-31 Kirchengemeinde hilft Behinderten
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Experiences exchanged and conviviality cultivated

GK Raderthal. The situation of disabled people in society was the topic of an action day of the Protestant Philippus church congregation.

After the church service, the congregation members discussed in small groups about experiences in dealing with disabled people and discussed perspectives of their own work with disabled people. Games, a small sales bazaar and barbecue specialities formed the convivial framework of the event.

Compared to other congregations, the Philippus congregation does not need to hide its light under a bushel.

For two years now, there has been a group of about 15 mainly older physically disabled people. Twice a month, the parishioners meet to spend their free time together creatively by playing games, doing handicrafts or singing. It was also the initiative of these disabled people that made the day of action possible.

Nevertheless, opinions about the degree of integration of disabled people into society in general and community work in particular also differed on this day. Arnd Kästner from the disabled group cannot agree unreservedly with the pessimism of some of those present.

Instead of resigning, he relies on new ideas. "We have to get more into normality," he says.

It must become a matter of course, he says, that non-disabled and disabled people become active together in community groups on an equal footing.

Nevertheless, it was clear from the course of the discussion that attitudes towards disabled people in society have changed.

Fear of contact and prejudice are hardly to be found any more.

A bigger problem, according to Kästner, is to engage the disabled themselves. In this respect, the day of action should also be an encouragement for the disabled to take up the existing offers of the municipality.

The French painter Peter Valentier gave the parishioners a nice surprise. He put a painting up for auction, the proceeds of which will go to the work of the disabled group.


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