“God creates us full of potential but with different abilities.”
December 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In the video “Living Into Our Full Potential”, Minister Darla Sloan speaks about being a minister living with a disability, as well as her experience with the daughter of her partner, who lives with multiple disabilities. She offers a perspective on how the church can become more welcoming and inclusive, as well as a theological perspective on integrating this work in ministry. Access the study guide for this video in the Downloads, below.
What We Believe
The United Church is committed to becoming an open, accessible, and barrier-free church, where there is full participation of people with disabilities. To start off, the church has been consulting with people with disabilities and their allies and exploring theologies of disabilities.
Jesus sought out the very people who lived with disabilities and marginalization in his society. He found ways of actively engaging them in their communities. But people living with disabilities—a dynamic category that anyone can join at any time—often find themselves on the margins of church life.
You are invited to join us in learning to dismantle barriers to full participation and create safe, trusting spaces that reflect the diversity of Christ’s body.
What You Can Do
- Pay attention to the stories of people living with disability, and learn to become an ally and advocate.
- If you identify as living with disability, get involved with the Disability Ministries Facebook group.
- Ask whether your regional council has a committee that has a focus on disabilities , and explore whether you can join it.
- Consider how your community of faith can become more accessible . The Accessibility Audit for Communities of Faith (available under Downloads, below) might help .
- Get more involved with the church’s intercultural vision, which calls us not to merely expand categories of inclusion but also to challenge relations of domination.
- Get involved in efforts to build more accessible community spaces. The United Church welcomes the Accessible Canada Act to make Canada fully inclusive.
- Watch the United in Learning webinar series Disabilities and the Church.
- Read background reports on the church’s disability initiatives (e.g., Open and Accessible, 2012; Theologies of Disabilities, 2015) at the United Church Commons.
- Find worship materials on our UN International Day for Persons with Disabilities page.
- Explore the Student Christian Movement of Canada's Disability, Faith and Justice Devotional (free download ).
Related Programs and Groups
- Disability Ministries Facebook group (The United Church of Canada)
- Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network (World Council of Churches)
For more information, contact