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Accessibility in all aspects of church life

Persons with disabilities leading dramatic worship
Disability issues cut across every aspect of congregational life and do not fit neatly into the work of a single commission or committee. Here is a sampling of  questions that  an accessibility advocate might bring to the attention of various groups in a congregation.   

Building/Grounds

  • Are your church building, parking lot, and restrooms easily accessible to people with physical disabilities? 

Christian Education 

  • Are the church's educational programs inclusive of children and adults with disabilities? Are there Christian Ed lessons and materials to meet everyone's needs?  

Communications

  • Print materials available in large type and alternative formats? 
  • Church Website accessible to people with vision disabilities and hearing loss? 
  • Are opportunities available to people with disabilities to share their stories and unique perspectives? 

Evangelism

People with disabilities participate in faith communities in smaller numbers than people without disabilities. 
  • Are people with diverse disabilities present in your congregation?
  • Does your wider community know the ways your congregation is welcoming for people with disabilities?
  • How prepared are you for individuals with disabilities to visit your congregation? 

Fellowship

  • Do fellowship events and community life make an effort to include those whom the wider society often leaves out, for example, those with hearing loss, developmental disabilities, autism, or mental illness? 
  • How comfortable are your physical spaces for socializing to people with sensory hypersensitivity, perfume- or other allergies, or hearing loss?  

Leadership

  • Are people with disabilities represented in the congregation's leadership, including committees, elders and church council? If not, why not? 
  • Are people with certain disabilities acceptable as leaders, but not others? Why not?

Mission/Service

People with a wide range of disabilities are unified by their common experience of stigma and discrimination. Persons with mental health disabilities are particularly vulnerable to stigmatizing.
  • ​How is your congregation engaged with meeting the needs of people with disabilities in your wider community? 
  • How are you advocating for justice and an end to discrimination for people with disabilities?  

Stewardship 

  • How well is your congregation recognizing and drawing on the gifts of people with diverse abilities and disabilities? 

Worship

  • How inclusive of people with disabilities are your worship services? 
  • Can everyone hear? See? Understand? 
  • Do people with disabilities contribute? Lead? Preach? 
  • How accepting is your congregation of behavior in worship that is outside the norm? (e.g., those whose disability makes it hard to sit quietly)  

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