Joni Eareckson Tada writes about her perspective at the time just after her tragic diving accident:
“There I was, out of the rehab center only a few weeks, sitting upright and awkward in my bulky wheelchair and wondering what to do about Sunday morning. I knew my church had been praying for me since my diving accident two years earlier in 1967, but facing people terrified me. Would they stare? Would I know what to say? Would I have to sit next to my family in the pew, half blocking the middle aisle? And what if I had to wheel into the rest room– would I fit?
“What I discovered that Sunday morning, after my family lifted me out of the car and into my wheelchair, changed my entire outlook on church. Someone had hammered together a few pieces of plywood to make a ramp. People smiled and asked me how I was doing at college. Old friends asked me to sit with them and held my Bible and hymnal. The feeling was warm and friendly. I felt welcomed. I belonged.”
Gene Newman and Joni Eareckson Tada,
All God’s Children: Ministry with Disabled Persons,