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Diocese of London appoints new Diocesan Disability Ministry Enabler
The Reverend John Beauchamp, Vicar of St Stephen’s Canonbury, has been appointed by the Diocese of London as the new Diocesan Disability Ministry Enabler.
The newly-created role will see John lead on issues concerning disability at all levels across the Diocese of London, and be responsible for encouraging and facilitating the growth of ministry amongst people with disabilities.
Upon commencing this role later this summer, John will leave his current position of Vicar of St Stephen’s Canonbury, where he has served since 2015. Prior to this, he was Rector of St Michael and St Luke in the Diocese of Edmundsbury and Ipswich. Under John’s leadership, St Stephen’s runs Manna, an outreach ministry serving homeless and marginalised people.
The Reverend John Beauchamp, currently Vicar of St Stephen’s Canonbury and the new Diocesan Disability Ministry Enabler, said:
“Having been an ordained priest in parish ministry for 27 years, and being blind throughout this time, I know first-hand what it is to be disabled in the Church of England. For many people with disabilities the church has not lived up to its calling to be a place of welcome and equality for all, but instead has been a place where the marginalisation and stigmatisation that all people with disabilities experience in society has been reinforced and perpetuated. As the church promotes thinking, discussion and action about diversity and inclusion in the areas of gender, race and identity, disability needs to be recognised as an experience where the church has equally failed to be inclusive.
“God created a world of immense and glorious diversity and variety and within that lies the whole diversity of human embodiment, all of which God declared as ‘very good.’ For too long people with disabilities have been objects of pity or ministry in the church rather than allowing the unique and creative perspectives that disability brings into the world to enrich the church’s life and ministry. It is time for the church to model a counter-cultural and radical inclusion that demolishes the term ‘disability’ and celebrates every experience of human embodiment as a reflection of the glorious variety that lies at the very heart of God.
“I am excited by the possibilities of this post and look forward to working across the diocese to challenge and encourage all to reimagine what it means to be a church that is genuinely inclusive of all of those that God has created and loves and calls very good.”
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, said:
“John’s appointment is an important step in promoting a new understanding of disability and awareness across the Diocese, and to making its churches more accessible to those with disabilities. His nearly 30 years as a parish priest stand him in good stead to ensure the needs of our parishioners are placed front and centre. My congratulations go to John, his family and friends as they celebrate this great news.”