As Christians we want to be an inclusive church family and to welcome everyone to worship together. We want our church communities to be as accessible as possible in all ways for all people.
Vanessa Layfield has been appointed as our Diocesan Engagement and Inclusion Officer. Her work includes enabling our churches to become more inclusive of those with different abilities. The church must be a provider of services (Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010) and therefore we all have a responsibility to take positive steps forward.
Since the commencement of her employment, Vanessa is keen to develop the resources and support we offer those with a disability. She has been busy working with our newly formed Disability Forum exploring how to transform church life by ensuring disabled people feel included, empowered and enabled to contribute to God’s Kingdom.
Vanessa is available to conduct accessibility audits of your parish church and has provided you with useful information here to enable you to consider any improvements necessary to enable all those with different abilities to be included in church life.
Vanessa is also encouraging parishes to look at the Through the Roof website with a view to appointing Roof Breakers. ‘Through the Roof’ is based on the story found in St Luke 5:17-31, which tells of a paralyzed man being healed by Jesus after being lowered through a roof. If anyone is interested in becoming a Roof breaker’, please go to Through the Roof, once sign up has been completed, a free starter kit will be sent to you.
Additionally, if you are interested in hosting a training event for your parishioners, the Enabling Church Course is available for your use. Please contact Vanessa for further information.
The Diocesan Disability Forum meets regularly and are working hard to support you. If you would like more information on how to become involved, please speak to Vanessa Layfield on: 01928 718834 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org
The disability forum have been working together to produce a list of Christian organisations that support disabled people.
Below, you will find their website addresses and contact details.
- The Additional Needs Alliance helps churches to include, support, create places of belonging for, and spiritually grow children, young people and young adults with additional needs or disabilities.
- Churches for all this umbrella organisation brought together many organisations with the aim of creating a more inclusive church through resources and education.
- Disability and Jesus- A website set up by three Anglicans with disabilities to encourage others with disabilities to share their experience of church and explore the theology of disability, working towards a more inclusive church as a result
- Go Sign - Formally Christian Deaf Link UK “Go! Sign” was inspired as a working name with a desire to obey Jesus’ commission to make disciples of deaf and hearing signers. At the same time they seek to find ways to improve local churches for a better accessible, discipleship growth, information and resources.
- Livability is the disability charity that connects people with their communities. They run disability care services and community projects for all ages.
- (Causeway) Prospects merged with Livability in 2016. They provide accessible approaches to congregational worship and teaching as well as fellowship groups for people with learning disabilities
- Open Ears- A non-denominational Christian charity (Registered Charity 284487) for people who have various degrees of impaired hearing, mainly (but not exclusively) those who communicate orally, assisted by hearing-aids and lip-reading.
- Through the Roof - A Christian Disability charity working to transform lives in the UK and overseas, with resources to help all
- Torch Trust's aims can be summarised as enabling people with sight loss to discover Christian faith and lead fulfilling Christian lives.
- The Kairos Forum– According to the list in the back of the enabling churches handbook this organisation is a Churches for All Partner Organisation. On its website it describes itself as “for cognitively and Intellectually Disabled People: Crafting communities of belonging through attention to the spiritual.” However, it also states that “The Kairos Forum, is an independent consultancy which serves to enable the lives of people who have disabilities and who have been Intellectually Disabled (KFCID).
- The Mind and Soul Foundation - exploring Christianity and mental health. Our website provides high quality resources to encourage, educate and equip the church and faith communities about mental health, combining good theology, good psychology and good medicine.