An Ability Sunday message from Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Join me to celebrate Ability Sunday. Help remove the barriers that disabled people face in church.

Ability Sunday is an invitation to mark a day of inclusion and participation in churches, with special consideration for the needs of disabled people.

Jesus’ ministry saw him gathering people from all walks of life. As he grew this community, he saw the value of all those he encountered – recognising the image of God in each person. When he spent time with those who were marginalised, many of these encounters led to those who were outside, re-joining their communities.

In these encounters, he demonstrated that we are all precious to God, though we may have different strengths, needs and abilities. A healthy church understands this and will be one where we feel welcome and we can welcome others. We will also have an opportunity to share our gifts, and will know the encouragement to do so.

Across our nation, many churches go to huge efforts to offer a welcome to all who come through their doors. However, there are often obstacles which prevent people from fully being part of their church community. Disabled people often encounter significant barriers which prevent their full involvement, and this needs to change.

Livability is inviting churches UK-wide to join together and mark out the 8th September 2019 for Ability Sunday to be a special day in their community. This year’s theme is Unique Gifts, recognising that each community is richer when everyone is involved. We all have gifts to give, and those in churches have an important role in helping others to share theirs, too.

There are different options for marking Ability Sunday in your church, or group. Livability have produced a pack of resources you can sign up for which offers everything from prayers to a whole service – join us and become an official Ability Sunday church this year.

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For those wanting to take the next step, there is also a guide to helping churches think about the process of how to deepen relationships with disabled people and build a church where everyone belong, called More Than Welcome.

As President of Livability, I would encourage every church to consider how the might support this day so we can work together to create communities where everyone can truly flourish.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Read more about this year’s theme taken from Psalm 139 – ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.