The Reverend John Beauchamp was appointed in the summer as the new Diocesan Disability Ministry Enabler.
The role of Diocesan Disability Ministry Enabler has been created to help churches across the diocese improve their welcome and involvement of disabled people in the life and ministry of the church. The life experience and gifts of disabled people have the potential to enrich who we are as the Body of Christ and indeed, without the full variety and diversity of embodiment and sensory and cognitive shape, we are an incomplete representation of that body.
In a survey carried out in 2019, 117 licenced and PTO clergy in London identified as being disabled in some way. Offering support and encouragement to disabled clergy and LLMs and encouraging more disabled people to explore and train for licenced ministry is an important part of the Disability Ministry Enabler’s role. To help do this I will be starting a number of disability support groups for clergy and LLMs in 2022 and supporting others to begin the discernment process and access training. If you are ordained or a lay minister working in London and you are disabled you would be welcome to join a group which will meet monthly on Zoom, email me on email@example.com to register your interest.
On the new ‘Disability Ministry’ area of the diocesan website you can find links to groups and organisations that can offer advice and support about how to welcome and involve people with a range of disabilities. You can also find articles and books to aid your theological reflection. We will be adding to these resources regularly.
There are many small adjustments that can be made in our churches that can dramatically improve access and participation for disabled people, other improvements will be more major projects and initiatives. To help your church begin a journey of reflection and change we will be providing some audit tools and help and advice during 2022.
I am available to support your church to become more welcoming and open to disabled people by visiting, preaching, speaking to your PCC, or helping you in whatever way is right for you. You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 02070182400.
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