I have had the pleasure this year of getting to know Chelsey Zylla, a young adult with a passion to share with churches the message God has been laying on her heart. Rather then me tell you all about her, I would like to share with you her own words as I asked her a few questions:
Tanya: Tell us a little about yourself.
Chelsey: My name is Chelsey Zylla. I am 26 years old. I am so excited to be able to share my story with you today and to talk about what it means for this generation to ‘expand the community’ – and especially, to think about what it means to welcome and understand people with disabilities. I have Spina Bifida and I am in a wheelchair full time. I am also a baker and I own my own business, Bite Me Baked Goods by Chelsey.
Tanya: What are some of the ways you are involved in your church community?
Chelsey: I have always been involved in nurseries at my churches. I am currently the nursery leader at the Well community church this is a church plant that my brother in law and sister started last year in Binbrook. I have also recently started occasionally singing on the worship team.
Tanya: What advice would you give to churches about welcoming people with disabilities?
Chelsey: Advice to churches welcoming people with disabilities, this could be as simple as inviting people with disabilities into your home but I believe their is more we can do! Some churches have an interpreter in their services to engage with someone who is deaf. When your church is doing communion make sure if someone is not physically able to go up and get their own that someone offers to get it for them.
Tanya: What opportunities do churches have to better engage people with disabilities in worship and ministry?
Chelsey: Churches should make sure everyone has the opportunity to use their gifts and feel free to share them with the rest of the congregation. It’s just a matter of talking to them and getting an idea of their interests and talents.
Tanya: How could churches learn more about what it means to welcome and include people with disabilities?
Chelsey: The best way to learn more information about people with disabilities is to talk to them, but everyone is different and you may find some people do not wish to discuss their situation and some who like me are totally willing to talk and answer any questions so you just need to take some time to get to know that individual and you will know what to do!
Tanya: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Chelsey: The most important thing I want you to take away from this if nothing else is that you can improve lives of people in your churches your families your communities and make sure those people with disabilities are loved and that they know they can do anything they want with their lives, if they lean on God for strength.