As churches around the UK prepare to celebrate Livability Ability Sunday on 21 November, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has given his enthusiastic support to this event, encouraging churches to make sure people with disabilities are truly included in church life.
The Archbishop says: ‘Jesus’ ministry demonstrated that we are all precious to God and our different strengths, needs and abilities should all be welcomed and cherished in His Church. I am so grateful for Livability, who are encouraging us to reflect on the importance of bringing together people of all abilities and building communities where no one is left isolated.’
All churches are invited to take part in Ability Sunday, whether inclusion is currently a major focus on their agenda, or not. A free ‘good practice’ guide will be emailed to all churches who register for the event. This guide draws on the experience of people with disabilities, and the local church, sharing how to meaningfully include people with disabilities in church life, beyond a welcome at the door. It also reveals how much ‘connectability’, the theme of Ability Sunday 2021, is valued by people with disabilities who are truly part of a church family.
‘Through the pandemic we’ve learnt how important connection is and how many ways there are to stay connected, even when we can’t meet in person,’ says Archbishop Justin. ‘On Ability Sunday, let’s recommit together to tearing down obstacles that prevent people from being included, and valuing the gifts of all of God’s children. ‘
Disability and care is a current priority for the Archbishop, who this autumn has invited Livability to take part in his new Commission on Reimagining Care. The Commission aims ‘to contribute to the national debate on the purpose of care and support. It will inform how care is provided in future, by identifying practical ideas, informed by extensive listening, and gathering of examples of good practice.’ Livability’s Chaplaincy Manager Elizabeth Harrison says: ‘As part of this work, I hope to invite the Commission’s representatives to our quality forum, to meet with people with disabilities who are supported by Livability.’
The Archbishop has promised his continuing support for Ability Sunday in the weeks leading up to 21 November and will be promoting the event across his social media channels.