Rejection and Grace

Why The Church Needs People Who Have Intellectual Disabilities

Illustration by Terri Scott

Illustration by Terri Scott

Charles Clark marched into a class where Rev. Tim Malone was teaching and declared that he was there because he was going to get confirmed.

“I am not proud to say it, but I remember thinking cynically, Yeah, sure you are. And how is that going to work?” recalls Rev. Malone, who pastors at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia.

He was disturbed by the brashness of this older man who has an intellectual disability — until, on the next Sunday morning he offered Clark communion. With his voice cracking, Clark called Rev. Malone’s name and began to sob.

This article by Bethany Keener was featured in the Winter 2016: Living our Limits print issue of Church Health Reader.