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Livaiblity’s upcoming event, Ability Sunday, invites churches around the country to highlight inclusion in church life. Whatever someone’s abilities, or whatever barriers they face, how easy is it for them to be and feel included? There may be a warm welcome at the door, but does it get any further than that if you’re someone with a disability?

We spoke to Ellie about her experience of inclusion at Christ Church Bayston Hill, near Shrewsbury, where several people with disabilities from Livability York House are committed members. Ellie, whose disabilities are largely hidden, has experienced the good and the bad – being viewed as a ‘problem’ in the workplace, and being welcomed by church. She tells us what really made a difference…

Ellie’s top tips for a more inclusive church


  • Remember disabilities may be hidden and the disabled person may not want to disclose their disability readily.
  • Actions speak louder than words – being comforted by a church member who came over to Ellie when she felt emotional after a service felt profoundly inclusive to Ellie. Ellie says she was also very reassured by seeing how included people who live at Livability York House were in the life of the church.
  • Remember not everyone – people with and without disabilities – can sit through a lengthy service, using complex language. Think about eg using simple language, including other media – this could be sounds, or something tactile as an illustration.
  • Don’t abandon digital services altogether – this is a preferred way to access church for many people
  • Include people with disabilities in ‘connecting’ activities eg prayer chains or groups
  • Think creatively about how someone with a disability can take part in leading a service; at Ellie’s church, Paul takes part in giving the Bible reading by having a supporter read each verse and giving space for Paul to repeat the words.
  • Visiting someone in their home can build relationships and connectivity, always following church safeguarding protocols.
  • Be very sensitive about issues of healing prayer for someone with a disability: Ellie says she did not want her disability to be prayed for.
  • When consulting the church family for feedback and opinion, give extra time and support for people with disabilities. When Christ Church Bayston Hill appointed a new vicar, Livability York House residents who attend the church were included in the selection process via an accessible questionnaire and an advocacy group.


Register your Church now to take part in Livability’s Ability Sunday