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.
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.
The most common symbol for accessibility features an image of someone in a wheelchair—lifeless, helpless, passive. Temporarily able-bodied people tend to look at people who have disabilities that way, seeing need without recognizing capability and giftedness. A new icon pushes that stereotype aside.
Universal design assumes BOTH that people have different needs and different ways of doing the same thing AND that these different people should have equal access to public facilities. How would Universal Design look in a church setting?
This fine article gives ideas for thinking broadly about building accessibility. Becoming an accessible church involves far more than installing a wheelchair entrance.
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.
Church leaders (especially deacons) will find this information helpful in assisting congregation members who need home remodeling for better accessibility.
Progress in creating accessible and inclusive spaces for people with disabilities can be slow. Yet, there are signs of hope. Check out this encouraging article about churches being proactive!
Do gaps in your church's physical and spiritual hospitality need to be brought to light so that you may more effectively witness to the life and light of Christ?
This document offers guidelines for planning meetings and events to ensure that all participants with visual impairments can participate fully and safely.
In this article, we offers tips and resources for providing the same information that sighted people benefit from to those with visual impairments.