To initiate intentional inclusion in your faith community:
Find like-minded people, especially those living with disabilities, to help determine initial steps, such as the following.
- Conduct a survey of needs and/or an assessment of accessibility, awareness, and attitudes. (To Right »)
- Plan to begin meeting some of the needs and gradually add more accommodations over time.
- Update the website, bulletins, and signage with themes of welcome, inclusion and accessibility and who to call for questions.
It’s time to make [faith communities] accessible to people of all abilities - Karen Jackson (2020 - uscatholic.org)
Know the needs of your [faith community]. Presume competence. Don’t keep your efforts to be accessible and inclusive a secret. It’s all about relationships. Conduct outreach to develop a culture of inclusion.
Karen Jackson is Executive Director of the Faith Inclusion Network of Hampton Roads - an interfaith organization supporting the inclusion of people with disabilities in congregational life of religious communities.
10 Dimensions of Belonging
A desire to belong is not a “special need”. In fact, belonging is a very ordinary need shared by most everyone, with and without disabilities.
Carter explores what it means to be a community of belonging for people with disabilities - Elizabeth Turner (2019 - vkcsites.org)
Are individuals with disabilities truly known within your community? ... Known not by a label, but as an individual. Known not by deficits, but by strengths.
...addressing these 10 dimensions of belonging within the church is more likely to require ordinary gestures than extraordinary responses. So you already know what you need to know to be able to do this on behalf of people with disabilities.
Parents considered congregation-wide disability awareness to be among the most helpful efforts faith communities could undertake.
Welcoming People with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families: A Practical Guide for Congregations (vanderbilt.edu)
What are the individual’s “strengths, interests, and gifts; support needs and challenges; spiritual and participation goals” for the year?
- Taylor, Carter, Annandale, Boehm, Logeman (2014) pg. 11
Six part guided video presentation to be used as a conversation starter with members of a faith community.
...belonging is ultimately fostered not by starting new programs, but through relationships. Relationships matter more than programs.
Collaborative on Faith & Disabilities
Each person has a God-given purpose and possesses unique talents and strengths... faith traditions encourage individuals to use their personal gifts and strengths... often expressed through work or volunteer roles.
40+ recorded webinars (2016-2020) covering various faith and disability topics.