Disabilities

“And when they could not bring [the paralyzed man] to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him…”
— Mark 2:3-4 (paraphrased)

The Disabilities Ministry is committed to opening doors and building bridges in the Church of the Brethren and beyond so that all may worship, serve, be served, learn, and grow in the presence of God as a valued member of our Christian community.

The disabilities ministry of the Church of the Brethren has partnered with ADNet, the Anabaptist Disabilities Network, to expand the resources available to Church of the Brethren congregations and individuals. Read more about the partnership, and use the links above to learn how your congregation can better support and advocate for our sisters and brothers with disabilities and mental health issues.


Congregational accessibility

The following symbols are universally recognized as signifying accessibility. If your congregation is interested in analyzing your attitudes and accommodation of persons of all abilities, there are self-assessment tools available through the Anabaptist Disabilities Network.

Accessibility and Mobility (PDF) – The church’s building and grounds are accessible to wheel chair users and others with disabilities. This includes parking, entrances, restrooms, worship space, and preferably classroom space. It might also include door handles and faucets that are usable for those with limited hand mobility.

Hearing (PDF) – Assistive listening devices (ALD) and other aids are provided for individuals who are hard of hearing.

Sign Language (PDF) – Sign language interpretation is provided to enable communication between hearing people and those who are deaf.

Vision  – Lighting in the worship area is adequate, and large print is made available in printed materials or through visual projection.

Disability Support (PDF) – The congregation promotes inclusion of people with disabilities and mental illness by supporting them through awareness-raising, education, support groups, and provision for individual differences in gifts, behavior, and learning styles.


History

The Disabilities Ministries was created at the 1981 Annual Conference and was the first task group formed under the auspices of the Association of Brethren Caregivers (now part of the Mission and Ministry Board). From the beginning, this ministry’s focus has been to address concerns of advocacy, awareness education, and accessibility. In 1994 a motion was accepted by Annual Conference regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, and in 2006 a Resolution was approved at Annual Conference affirming the Church of the Brethren’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion.