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Ministry and Vocations: Disability Ministry

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For information about Deaf churches and their ministry in London please visit – https://londondeafchurch.wordpress.com

About our commitment

The London Diocesan vision for 2020-2030 is to be ‘a church in which ‘every Londoner can encounter the love of God in Christ’’.

Every Londoner includes not only the vast variety of backgrounds, life-styles, and economic circumstances that London contains, but the infinite range of embodiment and sensory and cognitive shape that is all around us, some of which is labelled by our society as ‘disability.’

More than one in five people have a physical, sensory, or mental shape that means that they are labelled as ‘disabled.’  However, as the church in London, we want to be a place where no one is disabled, but all people are regarded as ‘able,’ and are able to use their abilities to contribute to the shape and nature of the church.

As a church, we recognise that we have not always been as inclusive and welcoming as we should be. We acknowledge that people with disabilities have often faced barriers to belonging and participation that have devalued them and their gifts.  But within our new vision, the diocese is making a new commitment to diversity and inclusion and seeking to be a church in which all people feel they can belong as unique and valued children of God.

A new role: Diocesan Disability Ministry Enabler

As part of this new commitment, we have appointed a ‘Diocesan Disability Ministry Enabler’ to head up this work. The Rev Preb John Beauchamp is blind and has been ordained for 27 years, serving as a parish priest in Suffolk and London.

John says: “Having experienced the Church of England from the perspective of a person with a disability for 27 years, I am looking forward to bringing the challenge that disability offers into the new diocesan vision. To be a church that is really open to every Londoner is a massive challenge and, if it is going to really include ‘every Londoner,’ will need the reimagining of space, worship and belonging in a way that eradicates the ‘them and us’ culture created by the word ‘disability,’ and brings all people together in an experience of fellowship that cuts through the barriers that society imposes on so many that it calls ‘disabled’. I hope and pray that the next 10 years will see the church in London live up to its vision and break open the unrecognised gifts and talents of so many who are currently regarded as disabled.”

If you would like to raise issues about disability, including your experiences of church as a person with a disability, or ask about how your church can start a journey towards being more inclusive and welcoming, you can contact John at john.beauchamp@nulllondon.anglican.org

Resources

Over the next year, we will be developing this area of the website to include a range of resources to help churches explore the theology of inclusion, reflect on their own structures and practice, and begin to see and understand how many people with disabilities are currently isolated and hidden within our communities.

Below are links to resources and organisations that provide useful information if you are exploring how to improve access to your building and/or how you can offer a better welcome to people with disabilities.

Articles, surveys and short books

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