On Friday 13th July, Livability joins Justin Welby The Archbishop of Canterbury for an important conference at Lambeth Palace to discuss how disabled people can participate fully in the life of the church.
The day’s theme ‘A Place to Belong’ considers what barriers disabled people can face in church life, and what churches can do to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to take part and share their gifts and talents.
Livability have been partnering with Lambeth Palace in the development of the conference and have helped to shape the conference’s discussion agenda for the day.
To mark the event, Livability are launching a new resource called ‘More Than Welcome’ to help churches consider their response to disabled people, and equip churches to work for full participation in their setting.
The report has been endorsed by Archbishop Justin Welby who is the President of Livability. Archbishop Justin Welby said:
‘Without the presence, experience and skills of disabled people, we are incomplete. That is true in the church and in wider society. It is our calling to work to build the most effective routes to participation at every level.
It is a privilege to be President of Livability, and I’m delighted that this new resource will help churches not just welcome disabled people – but enable them to participate fully in every aspect of church life.
The resource is a wonderful affirmation of all the good work churches are already doing across the UK. But it also provides practical and hopeful support to go further on the journey.
More Than Welcome is a resource to guide churches in how to deepen relationships with disabled people and build a church where everyone belongs. Based on the idea of a journey – it’s designed to help churches go through three important stages, from a place of welcome, to inclusion, to participation. The resource provides inspiration, guidance, stories and tips of things to work on to see people fully taking part.
Livability has launched the resource in response to the fact that lots of disability is unseen. The UK government recognises 11 million people as having long term illness, impairment or disability. That’s one person in six – but much of disability is hidden or invisible. Churches must play an important part in responding.
‘We don’t realise that those sitting in the pews around us have often overcome barriers of all kinds to be there. Many people experience ‘hidden’ or ‘invisible’ disability in the form of mental illness or chronic conditions.
Every church that wants to offer a radical welcome needs to start by take time to understand these barriers. Together, we must work to create spaces of hospitality and belonging. Our hope is that ‘More Than Welcome’ will help churches to go on this journey.’
‘At Livability we know that our partnership with churches across the UK is a major way in which we can support disabled and isolated people. Churches are so often at the heart of their community and play an important role in connecting people and tackling isolation.
We are proud to have helped to shape and share in this disability conference at Lambeth Palace and look forward to continuing this vital work in ensuring churches become places of true participation for all.’