In the Diocese of Liverpool, we celebrate the inclusion, contribution, and ministry of disabled people, acknowledging that the church community is only complete when all are welcome, and the partnership that should exist between disabled people and those who are non-disabled.
We aim to support parishes, deaneries, and the diocese in ensuring that our buildings, activities, and services are welcoming and accessible for people with a disability. This work includes mentoring, disability access audits for churches; disability awareness sessions for parish or deanery groups; other forms of training, and individual advice to parishes on disability issues.
We also now have the Diocesan Disability advisory group DDAG for short.
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We all must remember a disability can present itself in a range of forms, from a physical impairment to a mental or learning disability and that disability is often invisible. However, the way in which one defines or characterises a disability is open for debate, what one individual views as a disability, may not necessarily hold true for other individuals with a similar impairment.
As a church, we recognise that we have not always been as inclusive and welcoming as we should be. We acknowledge that disabled people have often faced barriers to belonging and participation that have devalued them and their gifts. But, within our Vision, the diocese is making a new commitment to diversity and inclusion and seeking to be a church in which all people feel they can belong as unique and valued children of God. This of course also fits with our keen work for Justice in all things.
Our Diocesan Vision
In Liverpool we are asking God for a bigger church, so we can make a bigger difference; more people knowing Jesus more justice in the world. We also want everyone to encounter the love of God within the church communities and beyond. This includes not only the large variety of backgrounds, lifestyles, and economic circumstances that Liverpool Diocese contains, but also the infinite range of embodiment and sensory and cognitive shape that is all around us, some of which is labeled by our society as ‘disability.’
More than 1 in 5 people have a physical, sensory, or mental shape which means that they are labeled as ‘disabled.’ As of 2019, around one-fifth of individuals in the United Kingdom had a disability, with the number reaching 28 % in the North of England. So, 1 in 5 is more likely to be 2 in 4 people in the Northwest.
A disability does not discriminate based on gender or age, however, older individuals are more likely to suffer from a physical disability due to the effects of aging. Mobility impairment affects the largest share of individuals registered with a disability, followed by problems with stamina, breathing and fatigue, which have an impact on an individual’s quality of life. Unfortunately, currently, stigma surrounding a disability still exists. According to a survey conducted in 2017, 75% of individuals with autism/Asperger (ASD) or neurodiverse were bullied, followed by 70 % of individuals with a physical disability and 52% of individuals with a learning disability.
Get in touch
If you would like to raise issues about disability, including your experiences of church as a person with a disability, or ask about how your church can start a journey towards being more inclusive and welcoming, you can contact Laura Leatherbarrow firstname.lastname@example.org