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Twenty years ago today, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilties Act (ADA) into law. Many people consider the ADA to be primarily about building codes and physical accessibilility. While that is true, the legislation prohibits descrimination on the basis of disability in a wide variety of areas beside public accommodations and commercial facilities including employment, public entities and public transportation, telecommunications, and more. In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the ADA Amendments Act which gave broader protections for workers with disabilities and which gave more specificity to the definition of disability.

The ADA has its own website which provides extensive information about the legislation and its application.

Churches were exempt from the ADA, but the CRC Synod showed excellent leadership in 1993 by passing "Toward Full Compliance," which calls the churches of our denomination to full compliance with the provisions of the ADA.

Many congregations have made work of complying with the provisions of the ADA. have made excellent progress with physical accessibility in the past 20 years. I commented about this progress (and in some cases the lack thereof) last week.

Let's keep talking about this. How has your church been doing at including people with disabilities? What barriers still need to be overcome in building architecture, or in programming and communication, or in peoples' attitudes?


I heard an exciting story on NPR yesterday about how the ADA has influenced architecture. The dean of the college of Architecture and Urban Planning for the University of Michigan was talking about universal design. Universal design principles take into account all the different ages of life and the differences in people's abilities. Universal design aims at creating spaces where everyone can live and move comfortably. Check out the story here:

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