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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 londondeafchurch.com

About our commitment

The Diocesan Vision 2030 is for ‘Every Londoner to encounter the love of God in Christ.’  This includes not only the vast variety of backgrounds, life-styles, and economic circumstances that London contains, but also 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 disabled people have often faced barriers to belonging and participation that have devalued them and their gifts. But, within Vision 2030, 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 worked within the Church of England as a person with a disability for 27 years, I am looking forward to bringing the challenge that disability offers into Vision 2030. To open our churches to ‘every Londoner’ is a significant challenge that will require 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 we will all work together to see the church in London live up to its vision and break open the unrecognised gifts and talents of so many who are currently marginalised and unrecognised within the church and across our city.”

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.

If you would like to begin to explore issues of inclusion and belonging for people with disabilities, here are a few links you might find helpful.

The law

General information

General advocacy and resource groups

Sight loss

Deaf and hard of hearing

Learning disabilities

Neuro divergent

  • The National Autistic Society – includes guidance for places of worship – www.autism.org.uk

Dementia

  • Memory Bridge – resources to encourage and equip the creation of meaningful relationships with people with dementia. www.memorybridge.org
  • The Alzheimer’s Society – united against dementia. www.alzheimers.org.uk

Mental health

Building and access

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