Presbyterians Today

OCT 2018

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OCTOBER Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay her home state of Kentucky to attend Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Ironically, in the rst class, one on inclusivity, she felt marginalized by materials that she couldn't read and by visual exercises that excluded her. She repeatedly told the professor and the class how she felt, but to no avail. When the class paired up to sing to one another, "I need you, you need me, we need each other to survive," Debra found herself standing alone and €ed the class in tears of frustration. Until then, she had always responded to being excluded with a feeble, "It's OK." Another seminar- ian in the class, however, met Debra crying in the hall and afrmed what she had always felt deep in heart — it wasn't OK to be excluded or overlooked. "It's not that the blind are margin- alized," Debra said. "We're not even in the margins yet." Welcoming the blind Many churches have a sign out front that says, "Everyone welcome," but the reality is that many who are different from the congregation are not welcomed, simply because records, and Debra serves as a guest pastor in New Castle Presbytery as she waits for a church call. But nding their place in society has been a challenge. In fact, many times, they wondered about God's care and provision. Debra admits she had periods of deep estrangement from God. She was angry with God, which led to bad decisions and bad marriages. During one of those estrangements from God, she attended a Bible study at a nonde- nominational church. She remembers people at the church talking about her to her sighted husband as if she were not standing right there. Her husband would appropriately tell those people that she could answer for herself. Her seeing-eye dog, one of ve she's had in her 60-plus years, also helped her connect with others who might have been hesitant to approach her. After all, everyone loves to pet those highly trained companions. Sensing she was feeling frus- trated doing medical transcription at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, a pastor friend urged her to attend Bible college, which she did. Eventually, Debra felt the call to ministry and returned to A blind couple opens a pastor's eyes BY RANDALL OTTO I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. C hristians often sing "Amazing Grace" without understanding what it is like to actually be blind — either legally blind with diminished vision or completely blind. More importantly, what is it like for those who are blind when they come into a church? How are they treated? How are they incorporated into the worship service? While serving at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newark, Delaware, I got to know David and Debra Trevino. They were each born three months prematurely, weighing approximately 1.5 pounds, and were put into incubators — the lights of which burned their optic nerves. Both attended residential schools for the blind, spending more time with fellow pupils than with their own families. The isolation, Debra Trevino says, continued into adulthood, with many people not knowing how to interact with the blind. "We just want to t in, be accepted and be a part of society," she said. David has begun his own produc- tion company, selling music with catchy jingles he composes, plays and

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