Disability & Accessibility, Diversity, Ministry, Pastoral Life, Writing

Disability Ministries of the UMC Seeks Contributions from UM Authors

It is an honor to serve as the editor for this project. Are you a United Methodist author with a disability or a passion for creating and inclusive and accessible church? If so, we would love to see your submission to this project!

(This article was originally published HERE )

Advent/ Christmas Disability Devotional for Disability Ministries Committee of the United Methodist Church

Working Title: Room at the Inn: Christmas Reflections on Disability, Diversity, and Hope

Introduction: Thank you for taking part in created this Christmas/Advent Devotional for Disability Ministries of the United Methodist Church. This devotional resource will be given away as a digital product in exchange for a donation. All donations will be given to the Disability Ministries of the United Methodist Church.

By submitting your writing, you consent to allow the Disability Ministries Committee of the United Methodist Church to use your writing for this project. No financial compensation will be provided to authors. We are grateful for your contribution.


Submit your writing by January 1, 2024 to secretary@umcdmc.org  as a WORD DOCUMENT or a .RTF file.  Once your writing has been received, you will receive an email back when your writing has been received.

Your piece should include:

  • Your Name as you want it printed
  • A brief biography about yourself and/or other writing credits (75-100 words)
  • The Scripture Verse you have selected (Options Can be found HERE. As options are claimed, I will delete them from the website. If you have a different verse in mind, just let me know so that we don’t end up with repeats.)
  • Your devotional (500-1200 words)
  • A closing prayer: (100-200 words)
  • For an example, see the following sample piece


Name: Rev. Rebecca L. Holland, M.Div. OSL

Biography (75-100 words): Rev. Rebecca L. (Torres) Holland is a visually impaired, Filipino American clergywoman serving in Central Pennsylvania. She is an ordained elder in the Untied Methodist Church and a member of the Order of St. Luke. She is the author of Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse, The United Methodist Church and Disability, and Hope for the Broken: Using Writing to Find God’s Grace. She blogs about faith, books, and disability awareness at BeckieWrites.com

 Luke 2:5-7: He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Devotional (500-1200 words):

“You can’t sit with us,” was a refrain I constantly heard as a young, half-blind, half-Filipino girl growing up in a mostly white town in Central Pennsylvania. I heard it in the cafeteria, in the classroom, and on the playground. My peers told me, in plain language as well as with social cues, that I simply wasn’t accepted and that I did not belong. My school years were fiercely lonely and incredibly difficult.

For most of my life as a young person, I felt as if there was no room for me. I was born with a rare eye condition that caused me to lose almost half of my vision by the time I was four years old. More than anything else, my disability separated me from other people my age. I (literally) viewed the world differently than everyone else my age. .

The only place I found meaning and belonging was at church. I grew up with a single mother, but having a church family was like having an entire extended family I could call my own. At our small United Methodist Church, I felt like I truly belonged. Church was the place where people said, “Come, sit with us!” There is a photo of me, too young to fit an adult choir robe so I was wearing an acolyte robe instead, smiling broadly and standing in the middle of the choir. In church, I could be exactly as God made me.

Growing up, I heard the stories of Jesus and they sank into my heart. I remember sitting in the pew on Sunday morning, next to my grandmother, and hearing the Pastor talk about Jesus and how he came to help the outcast, the poor, the downtrodden, and the brokenhearted. In many ways I was blessed as a child—I never knew true hunger, I always had a warm home to call my own, and my mother worked hard to provide us with a comfortable life. But in many ways, my heart knew the pain of physical ill health as well as longing to be accepted and seen as truly human.

Within the family of God, I have found acceptance and a home. My call to ministry is rooted in this sense of love and belonging. I want to give other people with disabilities the same opportunity to find the same sense of wholeness in shalom in church as I discovered all those years ago.

When God put on flesh and stepped down to be among us, he did not choose to be born in a palace surrounded by worldly comforts. Instead, he chose to be born in a barn with a humble manger as his crib. A manger, which is a food trough for animals, is fitting because it shows that Jesus came to be bread for the world. This verse also reminds us that Jesus himself was also on the margins, and that he understands what it is like to be excluded and overlooked.

Jesus choosing to be born in a stable shows us that that God’s love is not limited to those who are comfortable or powerful. Rather, God’s love is for all people, no matter their race, ability level, or socioeconomic status. We are all God’s children and we are all part of the family of God.

      The church is called to be the place where all people, including members of the disability community,  feel welcomed and valued. Jesus’s ministry here on earth shows that he had a special place in his heart for the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the outcast. He did not turn anyone away, but instead offered them love and acceptance. How can we work as individuals and churches to make our worshipping space and our communities welcome and radically inclsuvie for all God’s children?

As we prepare for Christmas, let us remember that Jesus was born in a humble and lowly place, and that he understands what it is like to be on the margins. Let us also strive to make our churches and communities places where all people, including those with disabilities, feel welcomed and valued. May we open our hearts and our doors to those who are often overlooked, and may we reflect the love of Christ in all that we do.


O Holy One: You are the Creator of All Things and the God of all People. As we prepare for the coming of Christmas, please fill our hearts with your light. Help us to offer room and safety to anyone who needs kindness and comfort. May our churches be a safe place for all people where we can all live as one family together. Amen.

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