Together, we create disability. Once we recognize and admit to our participation in other people’s disability, we can begin to remove the barriers to participation that we have erected.
With Rich Dixon's permission, I've copied an entry from his blog, Bouncing Back. In it, Rich applies an excuse analysis to physical accessibility of church buildings. The same analysis could be used to consider accessibility and inclusion in church communications, language used in worship and other settings, educational programming, youth group, small groups, outreach activities, work projects, and all other church related activities.
A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students from their Fluid Interfaces Group created a combination of hardware and software which allows people to use the movement of their hands in the air to interface with a computer. A wearable computer would allow a person who uses ASL to sign to a hearing person, and the computer would interpret the message into spoken English.
I visited a church recently. They worship in a beautiful, newly renovated facility. Every aspect of the facility meets code for accessibility: all on one level, pew cutouts, wide doorways, sloped surfaces, accessible parking spaces, accessible restrooms. Unfortunately, code doesn’t always square with the reality of living with a disability.
This fine article gives ideas for thinking broadly about building accessibility. Becoming an accessible church involves far more than installing a wheelchair entrance.
Every year at Christmastime, to my great pleasure, my wife gives me a puzzle-a-day calendar. Recently, one of the puzzles substituted each word in a familiar proverb with a rhyming word. The puzzle was to guess the proverb. For example, “Many guys sound ghoulish,” becomes “Penny wise, pound foolish.” Another was “Sniff a true wit’s bare pit.” Know the proverb? I’ll tell you the answer at the end of this post.
This Guide outlines a step-by-step process for making your place of worship accessible to people with disabilities. Although some specifics may not apply, the principles outlined in this guide are useful no matter which province (or state) you live in.
As many grains are gathered into one loaf, partaking of the elements binds God’s people together into one. Ironically, when church leaders ignore the unique needs of worshipers with disabilities, some are excluded from the sacrament whose very name includes the word union.