Making churches accessible to all

Having a disability should not be a bar to worship or to inclusion in the church community.

In the Diocese of Worcester we aim to be open and accessible to all.

We are committed to working towards an environment that will promote and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and freedoms by all people with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

Disabled people have the right to be fully included in the life of the church. Reasonable adaptions are required under the Equalities Acts both in physical access and in the way services are conducted. To find out more about this please visit the Church of England website.

If anyone experiences any difficulty in access to services within a parish or a diocesan event they should contact the churchwardens or vicar, or a diocesan person responsible for the event.  If the difficulty cannot be resolved please contact Jo Hyrons, the Diocesan Disability Advisor.

The Church of England is committed to removing the barriers that Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people face within the church.

We want all people to be able to fully belong and participate in the life, mission and ministry of the church and we want all people to be able to flourish and grow as disciples and ministers, regardless of any physical, sensory or cognitive difference. Find out more.

In the 2022 summer General Synod session, a motion was passed reaffirming this commitment. Read full motion and Synod debate.

Useful Links
Sign up to the Church of England's Disability Matters newsletter (produced three times a year)

The Church of England is committed to diversity as one of its major goals. This page provides resources you may find useful: mental health resources, podcasts (disability and the church), Downs Syndrome toolkit, and British Sign Language tutorial videos.

The Archbishop of Canterbury: Watch stories of people with disabilities in the Church of England – and their perspectives on how churches can make sure everyone can participate in church life. 

Livability: Livability is the disability charity that connects people with their communities.

More Than Welcome is a new resource to guide your church in how to deepen relationships with disabled people and build a church where everyone belongs. Based on the idea of a journey – the resource will help your church go through three important stages, from a place of welcome, to inclusion, to participation.

Through the Roof: This is a registered charity that exists to Transform Lives Through Jesus with Disabled People. The charity’s name comes from the Bible’s account where some men break through the roof to help their disabled friend meet Jesus (Luke: 5)

See Around Britain & See Around Europe: form a photo gazetteer designed for everybody, including disabled people, to help decide if a venue, including churches, will be suitable for visits. Everything from transport access to washroom facilities can be viewed in a series of photographs of the venue. View the suitability and accessibility before you plan to visit or arrive at the venue.

Disability Conference ( Description: Oxford Diocese hosted an online disability conference in October. The 10 to 30 minute recordings from the day are here and include:

  • Including children, young people and adults with additional needs in Church
  • Including autistic adults and children in Church
  • Ministry, disability and art
  • Including people with sight loss in Church
  • Deaf and disability issues
  • Including Deaf people in church
  • Ordained ministry and disabilities
  • Including people with hearing loss in church
  • The inclusion of adults with learning disabilities
  • Disability and later life
  • Disability theology

John Truscott, Church Consultant and Trainer, has an article on his website about how to conduct a Disability Audit. This will be useful for church leaders, administrative and operational staff, and all who are responsible for pastoral care providing an introduction to what constitutes disability and the practical implications of the Equality Act as well as being about love and care for everyone.

The Diocese of London has a lot of good resources including for those with Learning Disabilities, those who are hard of hearing or deaf and those with sight loss.  Do take a look Disability Ministry - Diocese of London

Dementia Friendly Churches

Here in the Diocese of Worcester we want to encourage our churches to work towards becoming more dementia-friendly. This page offers resources for each parish to explore and use.

Provision of BSL / English Interpreters for weddings, baptisms and funerals

Many Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) do not have easy access to ceremonies. BSL/English interpreters should be used if required in order that they have access and are included in these services.

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