MVNU_Jamia Cinelli

Mount Vernon Nazarene University

Guest lecturer Jamia Cinelli, area director of Joni and Friends Ohio, urged Mount Vernon Nazarene University students to see those with disabilities as God would see them and to trust his leading as they prepare for their calling.

Cinelli was invited to campus Thursday, Jan. 23, as part of the Lecture Artist Series to engage conversations on topics with cultural impact. She shared personal testimony about her father who was paralyzed following a coal mining accident and introduced students to the story of Terry Schiavo, a young woman who suffered a profound brain injury and became the center of a right-to-die battle between her husband, her parents and even Congress from 1990-2005.

Schiavo’s parents argued that she was disabled as a result of the injury and not brain dead, while her husband was adamant she would not want to live that way. A Florida judge would ultimately allow her husband to stop providing sustenance through a feeding tube that resulted in Schiavo’s death.

“The Bible tells us in Genesis that God created human beings in his image. We are image bearers of God. Individuals with disabilities, though often isolated and marginalized by society, are still image bearers of God,” Cinelli said.

As students search for their path or calling in life, Cinelli invited them to explore career options that involve working with, and advocating for, those with disabilities.

“God has a plan for our lives. There may be many curves and turns that we don’t understand, but God will make them all straight to bring us where he intends,” she said.

The event was sponsored by the Arts, Lectures and Programs Committee.