New Liturgy Regarding People with Disabilities
The Transforming Worship Circle has created a new liturgy that acknowledges both the experiences of exclusion and embrace for people with disabilities.
Titled, Called to be a Church for All, the liturgy is the result of the 15th Assembly’s commitment to justice and inclusion regarding people with disabilities. A task group led by Circle Advocate Alex Sangster has developed the liturgy for use across the Church.
Rev. (Deacon) Andy Calder, Disability Inclusion Advocate, VIC/TAS Synod, offers this introduction and background.
When preparing worship services, how much consideration is given to who will be there? Will all people find the liturgy accessible? What forms of communication are used?
These are some of the questions which have been raised by people with disabilities, families and carers.
In the Uniting Church we are a community that seeks to be: “a body within which the diverse gifts of its members are used for the building up of the whole, an instrument through which Christ may work, and bear witness to himself” (Basis of Union: Paragraph 3).
In seeking to be a community of embrace, the 15th Assembly in 2018 passed a number of resolutions related to justice and inclusion regarding people with disabilities.
One of these was a ‘Statement of Access and Welcome’, which can be read here.
A second was to develop a liturgical response which acknowledges the historical exclusion experienced by many people.
This liturgy, titled Called to be a Church for All, is now complete thanks to a working group co-ordinated by the Assembly’s Transforming Worship Circle.
This liturgical resource acknowledges that people’s experience of faith and worship is enhanced by a range of senses as well as by words spoken or written.
One recommendation is that the liturgy be used during the first week of Advent when International Day of People with Disability is held on 3 December.
The content may provide materials and information for a stand-alone Service of Worship, or alternatively, some components may be incorporated as part of a liturgy/ritual appropriate to your circumstances.