I’m often asked for resources to help church communities that want to live out disability access, justice and hospitality, but don’t know where to start. The UK disabled Christian movement is blessed with some talented disabled leaders, consultants and thinkers, sharing their expertise with churches. Disabled people can show churches how to open the gates.
Resources – Access and Justice
- The Living Edge conference is an annual event run by disabled Christians, for disabled Christians. Their resource Something Worth Sharing shares a decade gathered wisdom on disability access and participation. A partnership between St Martin-in-the-Fields Church and Inclusive Church.
- Welcoming and Including Autistic People in our Churches and Communities – guidelines by autistic expert Ann Memmott
- The Inclusive Church Radical Welcome course – training to help you make your church more radically hospitable to all
- The Baptist Union of Great Britain’s resources and reflections on disability justice in churches
- Included By Grace, from Lynn McCann – helping churches to include autistic children and those with learning disabilities
- Church of England Guidance Note on accessibility and churches. Under the Equality Act, churches have a duty to be accessible to disabled people. Churches often think they’re not covered by equality law, but they are. Start here to learn more about meeting your duties as a church – and then ask whether God is calling you to go beyond the basics of the law, to become a place of disability access and justice.
Disabled-Led Christian Groups
- Disability and Jesus – services and resources by disabled priests Katie Tupling and Bill Braviner
- YouBelong – a disabled-led online community connecting disabled Christians and those with chronic illnesses
- The Ordinary Office – daily prayers and Sunday services by Dave Lucas
- Struggling Saints – Weekly Twitter Bible reflections led by Tim Rourke, disabled pioneer minister
Disabled Ministers, Theologians & Leaders
- Fiona MacMillan, Chair of the St Martin-in-the-Fields Disability Advisory Group and Living Edge disability conference planning group; Trustee of Inclusive Church; #AccessibleSynod
- Tanya Marlow, theologian, author and speaker who writes and campaigns on chronic illness and churches
- Ann Memmott, autistic autism professional advising churches and society on justice and access for autistic people
- Tim Goode, rector at St Margaret’s Lee Church
- Jemma Brown, church accessibility consultant
- Pam Webster, Methodist minister retired through chronic illness
- Krysia Waldock, autistic researcher currently undertaking a PhD on autism and (non)belief
- Kay Morgan Gurr, consultant and trainer advising churches on how to include children with additional needs
Books (& More) You Should Read
If you want to understand what keeps disabled people from finding justice in churches, you need to read disabled writers. Our voices have been silenced in a Church that has more often spoken about us than listened to us. These are just a few of the prophetic voices speaking back, crying out for justice. Here’s a selection of books and articles by disabled and neurodivergent Christians, from the UK and beyond (and one or two allies).
Nancy Eiesland, The Disabled God: Towards a Liberatory Theology of Disability
Lamar Hardwick, Disability and the Church: A Vision for Diversity and Inclusion
Stephanie Tait, The View from Rock Bottom: Discovering God’s Embrace in our Pain
Daniel Bowman Jr, On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, and the Gifts of Neurodiversity
Tanya Marlow, Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay
Hannah Lewis, Deaf Liberation Theology
John M. Hull, In the Beginning There Was Darkness: A Blind Person’s Conversations with the Bible & The Tactile Heart
Inclusive Church, Disability: The Inclusive Church Resource (all contributions are by disabled people, with a theology chapter by John M. Hull)
Kathy Black, A Healing Homiletic: Preaching and Disability
Sharon V. Betcher, Spirit and the Politics of Disablement
Amy Kenny, My Body Is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the Church (forthcoming)
Shannon Dingle, The Full Affirmation of Disability Justice (Sojourners)
Fiona MacMillan and Samuel Wells, Calling from the Edge (The Plough)
Erin Raffety, Listening Even Unto Rebuke (Canadian Journal of Theology, Mental Health and Disability)
Emma Major and Laura Neale, Worshipping Together Safely (YouBelong)
Shut In, Shut Out, Shut Up – a ground-breaking disabled-led series devised by Fiona MacMillan, with guest speakers from across the UK disabled Christian movement, reflecting on disability, ableism and churches. Hosted by HeartEdge.
Drop me a line if you know of other resources I can share here. I prioritise work by disabled people ourselves, but I’ll sometimes share other resources if they’re very useful.