Disability

People living with disability 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 those living with disabilities  goes far beyond installing ramps and toilets. 

Disability Conferences

Since 2012 Inclusive Church has worked in partnership with St Martin in the Fields to run an annual Disability Conference. These conferences have been distinctive in that they are principally for those with lived experience.

Conference Reports

  • 2016 Prophets and Seers

Conference contributions:

Donald Eadie.
notes from talk PDF
Ann Memmott: notes from talk PDF PowerPoint (click save or save as to open)

Emily Richardson: Being a digital Prophet PDF. PowerPoint (click save or save as to open)

Videos of contributors at the conference are available on the Inclusive Church YouTube Channel

Sunday morning sermon by Jonathan Evens 'Reality Reshaped by Disability' available as a podcast here

 

  • 2015 Living on the Edge
    The conference had a number of contributors. Here is some of their material:
    Videos of contributors at the event are available on the Inclusive Church YouTube channel
    Sam Wells: Opening address

    Ann Memmott PowerPoint slides (click save or save as to open)

    WAVE PowerPoint slides (Click save or save as to open)

    Naomi Jacobs PowerPoint slides (click save or save as to open)   and Poster

    Susan Wolfe presentation

    Conference Report Conference Report here.
     
  • 2014 Transforming our Vision Conference Report
  • Inclusive Church in partnership with St Martin-in-the-Fields  held its 3rd Day Conference in October 2014. Speakers: Professor John Hull. Emeritus Professor or Religious Education University of Birmingham, Ben Allison, Anne Duffin and Stuart Lee.
  • 2013 Places of Belonging Conference Report
    Places of Belonging was a day-long conference on disability, mental health, inclusion and God hosted by Inclusive Church and St Martin in the Fields at the church in Trafalgar Square.  It brought together 75 people from Greater London and beyond – to pray, to reflect, and to envision new ways of being a community in which everyone’s abilities are valued and shared. Read More »
  • 2012 Opening the Roof Conference Report
    In October 2012 in partnership with St Martin in the Fields, Inclusive Church held a national conference: Opening the Roof: Opening the conversation about disability. Read More »

Disability: The Inclusive Church Resource

The Inclusive Church Resource book series is published by Darton Longman and Todd.

Designed as resource books for churches, each book has an introduction, theological reflection, stories from lived experience and a practical resource section

There are 6 books in the series.
Disability by John Hull
Mental Health by Jean Vanier and John Swinton.
Sexuality by Susannah Cornwall
Poverty by Susan Durber.
Ethnicity by Michael Jagessar
Gender by Rosemary Lain Priestley.

The book on Disability has an introduction by Clare Herbert, formerly trustee of Inclusive Church, now Tutor in Contextual Theology and Mission for the South East Insititute of Theological Education.
The theological reflection is by John Hull, Honorary Professor of Practical Theology at Queens' Birmingham

The resource secion is by Wendy Bryant, currently Disability Advisor for the Diocese of Bath and Wells.
Stories from lived experience are from:
Susan Wolfe, an American social historian living in London. Susan writes about her experience of epilepsy.
Fiona MacMillan, chair of the Disability Advisory Group at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Rachel Wilson, Priest in Charge of St Thomas Southborough. Rachel writes of her experience of living with cerebral palsy.
Ben Allison, a curate in the diocese of Derby. Ben writes about his experience of living with autism.

This is a really exciting project for Inclusive Church and we are proud to be working in partnership with DLT.

A comment in from someone who has read the first 2 books:

"Have just received the first books, and dived into one of them. They are excellent, and all churches should have them for the clergy, and PCC."

Books can be ordered from the publishers, or download an order form here

Buy Now

Video Resources

External Resources

Links and resources

No-one should have to deal with disability-related issues in the Church alone; find below a selection of the many great organisations who exist to support the disabled through their faith practices:

  • The Committee for Ministry of and Among Deaf and Disabled People (CMDDP) of the Church of England seeks to support and encourage the ministries of Deaf people, people with disabilities and the ministries of all those who work with them. 
  • Anglican Health Network provides a forum by which Anglicans everywhere can share their experience in health and healing. It offers opportunity to collaborate to strengthen Anglican health mission, especially amongst the most vulnerable.
  • Deaf Church is a useful resource for anyone interested in Church and Deaf people.  It provides news, forums and information about Deaf people and Church around the UK.
  • Do you use British Sign Language in a Christian setting? Are you learning BSL? Are you an interpreter? Are you a Deaf person who needs to understand Church language better? Do you work alongside Deaf people as an ordained or lay minister? Signs of God can help you!
  • GoSign! - a Christian ecumenical organisation offering support for Deaf and hearing Christians working in partnership.
  • Christian Signs - the organisation which is undertaking the 'Bible Translation Project' translating the Bible into British Sign Language (BSL).
  • The Torch Trust - is a Christian organisation with a worldwide vision for people with sight loss.
  • The Diocese of Oxford has produced a free guide, 'Welcoming those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome in our Churches and Communities'.
  • Through the Roof - is a national, pan-disability, Christian ministry who seek to ensure that the good news of the Christian message is accessible to everyone.
  • Causeway Prospects - offers Christian support for people with learning disabilities.
  • Churches Together in England (CTE) - an ecumenical organisation which seeks to help different Christian denominations work together for common aims.
  • Churches for All - a partnership of UK Christian disability organisations helping to create a better church environment for disabled people.
  • Disability News - round up of news relevant to disabled people in the UK.
  • Livability - the UK's largest Christian disability charity.