In the diocese of Oxford we celebrate the inclusion, contribution and ministry of people with disabilities, recognising that the church community is only complete when all are welcome. For too long we have been thinking in terms of “how to allow people with disabilities in”, rather than recognising the partnership that should exist between people with disabilities and those who are temporarily “able-bodied”. We aim to support parishes, deaneries and the diocese in ensuring that our buildings and activities are welcoming and accessible for people with disabilities: sensory or physical impairment, learning disabilities, including autism, mental health needs, and other “hidden” disabilities. This work includes disability access audits for churches; disability awareness sessions for parish or deanery groups; other forms of training, and individual advice to parishes on disability issues.

Welcome, Inclusion, Respect: A commitment to a Church open to all
This booklet has been produced for the Diocese by Wendy Bryant, who has worked in recent years as Disability Adviser to help clergy and lay people value and include people with disabilities in the life of the Church. (Also available as an easier read version).

The Access and inclusion guide 2013 is another useful resource developed by Wendy.

Welcoming and Including Autistic People in our Churches and Communities.

Guidelines produced for use in the Diocese of Oxford.

Children in church resource
Welcome, teaching and worship with children with special needs
This guide is for people with responsibility for children’s work in churches, and includes topics such as making people feel welcome, making people feel included and ideas for teaching and worship.

11th October 

‘1 in 30? Neurodiversity and Opportunity: A Look at the Autism Spectrum in Ministry and Parish’

led by Ann and Christopher Memmot

This will be a relaxed and thoughtful day with workshops, discussions, exercises and video clips, covering the following areas:

What is autism?;

Busting some of the myths around autism;

Identifying the strengths and the positives;

Ten top, low cost, tips for successful inclusion and co-working;

Autism in ministry – respecting gifts, differences and needs.

Course material provided.

Ann Memmott is author of the Autism Guidelines for the Church of England, and a national speaker and adviser on autism.

Christopher Memmott works with Autism Oxford and has a background of specialist schools work and work with young people on the autism spectrum.

This day is offered as part of the Continuing Ministerial Development Programme 2017/2018 but is open to non-clergy.

8th November

‘Celebrating Difference: Working with people with Learning Disabilities in parishes’

led by Jan Sunman.

Jan will be working with colleagues with learning disabilities in a very interactive day covering the following key themes:

What is a learning disability?;

Understanding the social model of disability and the medical model;

Inclusion, acceptance of difference and healing;

Communicating and worshipping with and without words;

Creating communities of support and fellowship for people with learning disabilities and their families;

Celebrating the lives of people with learning disabilities.

Jan Sunman has worked as a social worker and for Royal Mencap Society both as a regional officer and as a trustee. She has been campaigning for better support for families for over 36 years and has worked on a number of charitable projects for disabled children and their families. She currently works with Oxfordshire Family Support Network, a local charity supporting families of all ages who have relatives with learning disabilities.

This day is offered as part of the Continuing Ministerial Development Programme 2017/2018 but is open to non-clergy.