Disability Awareness & Advocacy
About Reverend Justin Hancock:
He is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church, with long experience working with young people as both the college pastor at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Lubbock and the director of the Texas Tech Wesley Foundation. Since moving to Dallas in 2011, Justin worked with the Missional Wisdom Foundation from 2015 until July of 2019 as the prior of the Epworth project, a network of intentional Christian communities in the North Texas area. While at the MWF, Justin and his wife co-founded the Julian Way, an organization that focuses on education and empowerment with/for/by persons with disabilities. In July of 2020, Justin and Lisa made the decision to take the Julian Way to a partnership with the Neighboring Movement out of Wichita, KS, so that the Juilan Way could expand its reach and develop its resources to transition to a fully independent non-profit organization. Reverend Hancock believes firmly that disability is a mark of God’s abundant creation, and in the words of Julian of Norwich, “All of God’s creation is God’s good creation.”
Q: For our students, what’s one word of encouragement or advise that you would tell them – even if it’s being aware about the uniqueness and diversity of people? Or if they themselves may have a disability?
I would tell young people who experience a disabling embodiment and who are wondering about their future: Nobody will expect you to be in a space where you don't expect to be yourself. Don't ever apologize for having a disability. This the way you were made and it's something to be proud of and not ignored or worked around. Related to that is, never ever feel sorry or apologize for asking for what you need to be your best. As a Persian with a disability you have as much right to experience your world as anybody else, even if it looks different from everybody else. If the things you need help you live a better quality of life you have the right to ask for and demand them.
Q: What are some helpful resources for people to learn more?
- The Faith Inclusion Network
- Different & Able
- Disability Rights Texas
- Writing of Laura C. Robb who is an author & poet
- The Julian Way authored by Rev. Justin Hancock