The Power of Advocacy: Meet Sherry Alexander
Sherry Alexander is a woman of persistence, faith, and vision. Her vision is for Christian communities that include each member of the body—regardless of their ability. Though at times she has experienced the beauty of inclusion, more often than not, she knows the pain that can result when churches are not equipped to welcome individuals impacted by disability. Activated by a recent experience at a church her family was attending, Sherry became determined to bring disability education and understanding to church leaders and volunteers on the East coast.
“Being a part of a church family has always been an important part of my life as well as a source of strength for me. It’s always been my desire for my children to experience this as well. However, it hasn’t always been easy with my 14 year-old daughter Sarah, who has Non-Verbal Learning Disability, social anxiety, and Tourette syndrome,” said Sherry. “After six months of attending a new church, Sarah was bullied and unsupported by leadership. Though I was devastated, I knew I had to do more to educate church leaders about disability and inclusion.”
Sherry understood that bringing change to her church meant educating everyone about the gifts and needs of persons with disabilities. “I have found that the lack of information and understanding about those with disabilities is often the largest barrier to inclusion. If you don’t have that knowledge, you have a tendency to label and/or exclude a person with a disability,” said Sherry.
In her search for resources, Sherry found All Belong and began talking with us about steps she could take to provide education and advocate for change. Utilizing her personal connections along with All Belong’s contacts, Sherry organized an upcoming two-day conference for church and ministry leaders. Through the upcoming Coastal Disability Ministry Summit on September 23-24 in Charleston, SC, Sherry is eager to see pastors, volunteers, and children’s ministry leaders equipped with a framework, practical tools, and encouragement to receive each person’s gifts.
“My hope and prayer for this conference is that it will serve as a catalyst for bringing wholeness to our communities. The body of Christ is incomplete without my daughter and other people with disabilities—I pray this is an eye-opening experience for all who attend,” said Sherry.
Through this upcoming conference, churches will have the opportunity to see the kingdom of God through the eyes of a woman who used her gifts to make sure that the body of Christ fully realizes those “parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (I Corinthians 12:22). For Sherry will not rest until all churches are equipped to support each member of the body—regardless of their ability.
To learn more and about the Coastal Disability Ministry Summit, visit their website.
Katie Barkley is the director of marketing and communications at All Belong.