We believe that the church community is only complete when all are included. Open to All seeks to support parishes, benefices and the diocese to be as inclusive and accessible as possible to all people, and especially those with disabilities.
As well as ensuring that our church buildings and activities are accessible to people with physical or sensory impairment, learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism and other hidden disabilities, we want to enable and celebrate the contribution which people with disabilities make to the life of the Church, including its leadership and ministry.
The diocese’s work in this area is governed by its Disability Inclusion Policy, which was adopted by Diocesan Synod in July 2009.
The policy demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the inclusion of disabled people in all aspects of church life and mission. It enshrines the principle that all people employed or accessing services offered by the Diocese of Bath & Wells are treated equally.
“We are made in the image of God, and as such all people are of equal importance and significance. In God there is no distinction between male and female, Greek or Jew, bond or free – disabled or abled.” Diocesan Disability Inclusion Policy 2009.
We would also be pleased to hear from anyone with personal or professional experience of disability who would like to take part in the work of Open to All, or to find out more.
There are several Christian organisations which offer information and resources on disability inclusion for churches.
Most of these organisations have local branches which have their own activities. If you would like to tell us about local groups supporting disabled people in a church context, please contact us.
Contact a Family – an excellent source of information, advice and resources on family life with a disabled child. Not a church-based organisation, but an invaluable resource.
Faith and Light – an ecumenical organisation for people with learning disabilities, their families and friends; offering regular meetings with prayer, fellowship and celebration and nurturing personal growth.
Go! Sign – aims to support Deaf Christians in their church experience and to bring Deaf people to know Christ as their Saviour.
L’Arche – an international movement which builds faith-based communities all over the world: places of welcome where people are transformed by an intense experience of community, relationship, disability and difference.
Livability – the UK’s largest disability charity, offering information, resources and accommodation which offers disabled people choices in how to live independent lives
Open Ears – a Christian charity which supports people with hearing impairment.
Prospects – a Christian organisation working together with people with learning disabilities so they live life to the full. Offers many useful resources.
Through the Roof – works with people with disabilities in the UK and abroad to “transform lives through disabled people”. Many useful resources.
Torch Trust – provides Christian resources and activities for blind and visually impaired people in the UK and worldwide.
Who to contact
Jonathan Foyle, Church Buildings Adviser