I was really pleased the other day to learn that Jean Vanier (pictured here), founder of L'Arche, a non-profit organization that creates supportive homes for people with disabilities to live as equal with others, is this year's recipient of the Templeton Prize.
I'm aware of L'Arche and its good work partly because my oldest stepson is a special needs adult with development disabilities. Chris doesn't live in a L'Arche home but, rather, in one owned by Friends of Johnson County Developmental Supports. Chris works at a JCDS sheltered workshop on the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro area.
L'Arche has a presence in the KC area that you can read about here.
Vanier is moved to do his work with the disabled out of his foundation in Catholicism. The great modern German theologian, Jürgen Moltmann, once said that any church that doesn't have disabled members is itself disabled. It's true. When I think of how Chris, now a member of the church his mother and I belong to, loves and is loved by other members there, I think how blessed he and we are to have each other.
And in turn I'm grateful for the kind of work Vanier and others do.
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A LITTLE INSPIRATION, PLEASE
I'm also grateful for the interfaith work that Barry Speert does in the Kansas City area. For two upcoming Sunday afternoons -- 3 p.m. on both March 22 and April 26 at the Waldo Branch of the KC Public Library, 201 East 75 St. -- Barry will lead a free discussion called "Words and deeds of benevolent creeds." He and participants will look at current news stories containing inspirational details about work and developments that reflect the values and interdependence of various faith communities. For more information contact Barry at email@example.com.