As autumn sets in and the journey towards Christmas gets closer, Livability have supported ‘OUTSIDE/IN’ a new resource that welcomes everyone in to the Christmas story.
Partnering with the Christian charities ‘Lifewords’, ‘Biblica’ and ‘Torch Trust’, the illustrated booklet and accompanying tools have been created by Lifewords to challenge and encourage churches to proactively consider people marginalized in their own communities this year. The booklet is for churches to give away and provides specific ways to extend access to the Bible for people who are non-hearing, visually impaired, and who have a lower reading age.
“We wanted to ensure that everyone feels welcomed into church this Christmas. OUTSIDE/IN turns the spotlight on those who may have been considered to be outside the story but are drawn to its core” explains Matt Currey, Lifewords’ UK Development Manager. “Against the backdrop of an increasingly divided world, the Christmas Story has a powerful message: no one is excluded from experiencing good news. The birth of Jesus is an invitation to all humanity, a unifying opportunity to be open-handed and welcoming, as God welcomes each of us.”
OUTSIDE/IN tells the Christmas Story from an unusual perspective, showing how everyone is truly welcomed into God’s story. The shepherds in the story would work outside for hours every day carrying out a job that was most likely looked down on. Mary and Joseph’s situation did not conform to cultural and societal standards. The wise men were visitors in a country that wasn’t their own. Yet God called them right into the heart of the Christmas Story.
Corin Pilling, Assistant Director of Community Engagement at Livability comments: “By using more accessible resources like OUTSIDE/IN churches can do so much to create a place of welcome for all. There are always a range of communication requirements within a congregation. With its careful consideration to invite all into the story, making for an accessible narrative, these resources will support more people to celebrate the Christmas Story.”
Livability partnered with Biblica and Torch Trust last year in the creation of an Accessible Bible (New International Reader’s Version). OUTSIDE/IN uses excerpts from the Bible, created to be accessible to reading ages from aged 7+ and making it easier for everyone to engage with the story.
There are 50,000 people in the UK for whom BSL (British Sign Language) is their first or heart language. Globally there are 70 million sign language users, and 400 unique sign languages. The font size in the booklet has been increased in line with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) standards, so that it’s more accessible for the visually impaired. Torch Trust has also created braille, super-large print and audio CD versions of the story. A new downloadable animation for churches to stream or share on social media has BSL signing included, so that the story is accessible to the deaf community
For more information and to get a copy of this new resource visit the Lifewords web site.