Enabling churches where disabled people belong.
Disabled people are often excluded from the life of the church in many ways. Churches have a legal responsibility to ensure that their buildings are safe and accessible – but inclusion for disabled people goes far beyond installing ramps and toilets.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are 650 million people with disabilities in the world. They are the most unreached people from a Christian perspective. For instance, how many people with disabilities have you seen in your church? People with disabilities need God just as much as anyone else. Therefore the church needs to actively reach out to and be inclusive of people with disabilities by being accessible in attitude, buildings and correct Biblical teaching. The Bible has much to say about disability.
People with disabilities should not just be viewed as “needy” but as participants in the life of the church for they have much to contribute. They can be a unique witness to the grace and glory of God. They need to be in a “user-friendly” atmosphere whereby they can realise their full potential and purpose, which God has for them.
Resources for Disablity Inclusivity
- Churches for All – UK http://churchesforall.org.uk/
- Through the Roof – https://www.throughtheroof.org/inclusive-principles-2/
- Disability Inclusion Resources from Rejoicing Spirits http://www.fpcbirmingham.org/disability-inclusion-resources.html
- A Place for All: Inclusion of people with Disabilities by Devita Parnell https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/38384.pdf
- Inclusion (of children with disabilities) in Church Communities http://www.tsbvi.edu/seehear/archive/church.htm
- Larger Table – Reflections at the crossroads of faith and disability https://largertable.com/
- The Collaborative on Faith and Disabilities www.FaithAndDisability.org. Resources, webinars, research database, a collection of videos from the Summer Institutes on Theology and Disability, and much more.
- www.DisabilityisNatural.com. Parent and writer, Kathie Snow, introduces new ways of thinking about disability.
- Congregational Practice Guide. The guide is intended to help equip congregations with ideas and practical steps to strengthen the invitation, supports, and hospitality offered to people with disabilities and their families. Downloadable at: https://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/assets/files/resources/CongregationPracticeGuide.pdf
- Friendship Ministries – People With and Without Disabilities Growing in faith together https://friendship.org/
- Jesus Cares Ministries http://www.tlha.org/jesus-cares-ministries
- Faith inclusion Network – Supporting People with Disabilities in our Faith Communities – video resources http://www.faithinclusionnetwork.org/videos-that-all-may-worship-guest-speakers/
- Autism and Faith http://www.fpcbirmingham.org/uploads/2/2/3/0/22303298/autism_and_faith_autism_advocate_fw2015.pdf
- Vanderbilt Kennedy Center – Resources https://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/topics/
- Autism and Your Church: Nurturing the Spiritual Growth of People with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Barbara J. Newman. ©2006, 2011 by Friendship Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI
- Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship by Barbara J. Newman. ©2015 by CLC Network Publishing, Wyoming, MI
- Autism & Alleluias by Kathleen Deyer Bolduc, ©2010 by Judson Press, Valley Forge, PA
- Same Lake, Different Boat by Stephanie Hubach. ©2006 by P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ
- Disability and the Gospel by Michael Beatis. ©2012 by Crossway, Wheaton, IL
- Prayer for People Who Can’t Sit Still by William Tenny-Brittian. ©2005 by Chalice Press, Danvers, MA