Monday, 29 July 2013

WHAT SIGHT-IMPAIRED MEMBERS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO WORSHIP SERVICES.

Though many churches are adding wheelchair ramps, not so many are prepared to assist blind and partially sighted members. Having had extensive experience with being left out of the worship loop, I yearned for a way that I could contribute to the singing.

In July of 1975, I thought of a way I could contribute. Approaching Sister Roberta, the accordion player and music leader, I asked if I could strum along on my guitar. She declined at first, claiming that there were too few singers to balance out the musical instruments. After much pleading, she finally relented.

Being able to contribute to the music gave me a sense of belonging. I felt proud that I at last could contribute to the worship of God through my guitar. Whenever I visited another church, I felt humiliated that I couldn't read the hymnal or see the text on the overhead projector screen. Being able to play along with the accordion solved that embarrassing problem.

Decades later, another church helped me join in with the songs they sang. During the week, the pastor's wife typed the lyrics to the upcoming Sunday's hymns and printed them out in large type. The depth of the poetry and the theological richness of the songs amazed me. Never having been able to read the words in the hymn book before, I had to concentrate on hearing what others sang. Reading those lyrics blessed me like I'd never been blessed before.

Various sight-impaired people have told me about joining choirs as a way to help their churches. That wouldn't work well for me as every song seemed to be in the wrong key. Even so, I urge pastors to encourage their sight-impaired congregants to use what talents they possess to bless others musically.

I wrote extensively about challenges worship singing posed to me in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity.  Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.