We believe that our church community is only whole when all are truly included. So it’s vital our church buildings, activities, and approaches are accessible to people with physical or sensory impairment, learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism and other hidden disabilities. We wish to provide the same opportunities for everyone.
The Church of England is committed to diversity and the Archbishops’ Council, which sets the strategic goals for the Church of England, includes disability as one of the key areas, aiming to increase the welcome and participation of disabled people:
Barrier-free belonging | Weblink
We want to be an enabling rather than a disabling church and we are increasingly asking the question, how can we enable disabled people to be at the heart of our communities, explore their vocation and realise their gifts?
Welcoming people with Dementia into church by All Saints' Church in Laxfield
All Saints' Church in Laxfield held a dementia awareness training session to raise awareness of dementia and to explore how the church can better support those affected in their local community – whether they are carers, family members or those living with the condition. And now, following the training, All Saints' are hoping to start a regular morning drop-in at one of their village pubs.
The training session was run by the Alzheimer’s Society who report that 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia and the overall number of people in the UK with dementia is set to almost double by 2040, making it an increasing issue that churches need to be equipped to respond to.
Liz Hammond, an Elder at the church, says “We had a very encouraging response from the village – with about half of our course attendees not being regular church-attenders – and also from Laxfield Co-op who donated the refreshments, and were represented on the course. We now have a greater insight and can come alongside people living with dementia better....We will continue to talk with those we know affected by dementia about how we can support them better, and to think about the small steps we can take to make our church building more accessible.”
Deaf church in Ipswich, Bury and Felixstowe, meets every Sunday via Zoom at 3.30pm. A recording of the service is available afterwards on the Facebook group which can be found here. There is also a Zoom coffee and chat once a fortnight on Thursdays at 2.30pm.
For more information please contact The Revd Penny Brinkley:
Tel: 079019 50768 (via text only) | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Go Sign a website for people who are deaf or who have hearing difficulties. It has resources and information about the Christian faith, events, churches and training to support Deaf people and others who use British Sign Language.
Sight Loss Friendly Church Tasters
Sight Loss Friendly Church (SLFC) from Torch Trust, the UK Christian sight loss charity, offer courses to give churches the opportunity to include people with sight loss in every aspect of church life. You can join their network of churches to access training, advice, resources and to be added to their sight loss friendly church finder. Best of all, it’s all free of charge! To find out more and register please visit here or for more information please email SLFC@torchtrust.org.uk
If you are looking for resources to help you make your church more welcoming please visit our website section:
Inclusion and Disability | Weblink
Wheelchair accessibility in St Mary's Walton