The Anabaptist Disabilities Network (AdNet) provides a continually-updated collection of resources, including an excellent online newsletter. “Anabaptist congregations and denominations are many and varied, but one thing we hold in common is our conviction that faith is not only a ‘me and my God'’ proposition. Faith with integrity pervades and affects all our human relationships, and shapes how we view those around us. The ‘priesthood of all believers’ is not meant to be a high-sounding platitude; it's meant to drastically change our view of what, and especially, who is important. In Jesus' kingdom all people have value and the gifts of all are necessary for the life of the gathered community.” AdNet newsletter
Friendship Ministries focuses on people with intellectual disabilities, and offers resources from Sunday School curriculum to Bible studies to leader materials on how to include people with disabilities in our faith communities.
The United Methodist Church, General Board of Global Ministries, Disabilities Concerns (DISC) is “a resource for persons with disabilities, their families, friends, caretakers, congregations and clergy. This page offers information related to disability concerns with a focus on spiritual care. Here, you will find material on developmental disabilities, mental illness, appropriate language, social and environmental accessibility and resources on disability for individuals and faith communities.”
The U.S. Department of Labor’s disability website connects the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities to valuable resources. The site covers topics such as benefits, civil rights, community life, education, emergency preparedness, employment, health, housing, technology, and transportation. It also includes social media tools, such as a blog and Twitter feed, to encourage feedback and interaction among visitors.
The National Organization on Disabilities has produced a resource titled "Prepare Yourself: Disaster Readiness Tips for People with Disabilities." Other resources for congregations to use for members with disabilities are also available.
A refinance and mortgage guide for people with disabilities is available from an independent group whose website is designed as a place where articles, features and consumers guides on mortgage and refinance information are organized and consolidated. The website is not specific to those with disabilities, but this link will take you directly to the relevant article. An audio version of article is also included.
There are many helpful websites. We recommend: www.thearc.org/who-we-are/media-center/people-first-language. This provides a description and explanation of "people first language", which is helpful for considering how we talk about disabilities and persons impacted by them. The ARC is a nation-wide advocacy group with offices in every state.
Statements and resolutions
Annual Conference Resolution: Commitment of Accessibility and Inclusion (2006) - Delegates at the 2006 Annual Conference approved the resolution regarding the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The statement calls for congregations to recommit themselves to the goals of the ADA and urges congregations, agencies and gatherings of the Church of the Brethren to enable all activities to be accessible so that “all may worship, serve, be served, learn and grow in the presence of God as valued members of the Christian community.” It encourages these same groups to do the following:
- examine physical and attitude barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating fully
- make a commitment that all existing and future denominational offices be modified or designed to follow the guidelines of the ADA and
- request that the Caring Ministries of the Church of the Brethren continue to make resources available to assist in fulfilling these commitments