Diversity Celebration Service in Vilande Church April 15, 2018

Disability Sunday Services or Diversity Celebration currently is a new tradition in Latvia, and many might not even have heard of it. However, we believe that ever more Christian churches will become interested in it and will become aware of necessity to hold such services.

The first Diversity Celebration Service took place in Agenskalns Baptist Church on 14 January 2018. Four months later, on April 15, a similar service was held in Riga Baptist Vilande Church. Planning of the service was undertaken by the association Wings for Wheels, whose head and several members are the members of Vilande church.

In his introductory speech W4W head Kaspars Apinis underlined that the purpose of hosting a Diversity Celebration Service is to help people see the personality behind the disability. We challenge the Christians to leave behind their usual stereotypes and perceive the differences or diversity as a gift of God and as an opportunity instead of something burdensome and to be rejected.

Santa Survila explained her experience with disability and her way to Christ. Due to congenital and untreatable muscle dystrophy she perceives God’s promise of His strength in our weakness not only as poetic words, but as a daily necessity and reality. When addressing the church, Ailita Kuka shortly shared about the meaning of Disability Sunday and invited to view the Diversity Celebration not as an annual campaign, but as a reminder that we have to take care of each other every day. Hosting special services is useless, if our attitude towards other people does not change afterwards and is not manifested in works of selfless love. Christians should be the ones willing to give up their comfort and convenience in order to help those people in society who are weak and excluded.

You can listen to the recording (in Latvian) of the service here.

More photos are here