In Leviticus God warns people against cursing the deaf or putting a stumbling block in front of the blind. There is no place for stereotypes or prejudice in a house of worship.
Faith is an important part of society both for social and religious purposes. I suggest that outreach programs include people with various disabilities. Furthermore, member meetings and social activities should be in accessible locations. It is not just about elevators and large restrooms it is about inclusions. Asking people with challenges to join your table after the service means a lot. Awareness programs and speakers can be offered as part of the traditional group meetings.
Physical disabilities– Do we have accessible restrooms? accessible parking spaces?
Blind– Are bibles available in Braille? Are bibles available in large print?
Deaf– Can sound be amplified? A sign language interpreter for special services?
Developmental disabilities– Be patient with someone who wants to talk. Have open attitudes especially if the person makes odd noises at inappropriate times. Such challenges are likely uncontrollable to the individual. Invite the person to sit with you anyway.
Worship as One: Disability in Community is a 12 minute film on YouTube. It portrays clergy, church staff, members, and families comments on accommodations in the churches. Let us learn from your religious experiences by contacting 484-425-7587.
“My church has members with disabilities. We include them but this program really helped me better understand how to improve our approach.” – Doris