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Disability Awareness Sunday resources

Choir singing using sign language

Resources for Disability Awareness Sunday, set for October 15, are now available for churches desiring worship experiences and spaces accessible to all God’s children.

The Michigan Conference has set aside October 15 as Disability Awareness Sunday this year. Gifts from this annual offering funds projects and awareness to make our churches more accessible and welcoming for those with disabilities.

Whether your church plans this special service and offering during October or at another time of the year that’s more suitable, such as a mission of the month or a Christmas offering, here are some helpful resources for worship planning and making your church more accessible.

Michigan Conference Resources

The Michigan Conference’s Division on Disability Concerns seeks to provide resources, education, inclusion, and advocacy within United Methodist congregations by empowering churches and persons with disabilities to connect, lead, and share personal stories, together achieving full participation within the life of the faith community.

Convenor Michelle King leads members of the Division. Complete this online form if you have questions for them or would like to learn how to get involved with this vital conference ministry.

The Division is glad to provide resources and support for congregational leaders, including:

    • Trustees regarding accessibility audit requirements, building improvements for seating, and assistive technology
    • Disability coordinators
    • Sunday school teachers following Safer Sanctuary and other safe space practices
    • Clergy regarding annual hospitality and accessibility audits

Find additional information on requirements for annual conferences and local congregations in ¶ 265, ¶ 653, ¶ 2533.6, and other sections in The Book of Discipline.

General Church Resources

Has someone in your congregation shared that they are having mobility issues? A change in eyesight or hearing concerns over time? Do you have congregants that have needs you are unsure how to meet? The Disability Ministries Committee of The United Methodist Church provides assistance and resources for all United Methodist churches on their website, including the accessibility audit that church trustees complete annually. The audit (find it by clicking here) is a checklist of how our buildings and programs can be accessible to all.

Download this printable brochure about the Disability Ministries Committee and then email the Committee at [email protected] if you have further questions.

Want to learn more about being inclusive of people with disabilities? The United Methodist BeADisciple online school offers a certificate program in Ministry with People with Disabilities. Click here to learn more. The next class begins in January 2024.

Review these helpful FAQs as your church prepares to celebrate Disability Awareness Sunday.

National Council on Independent Living

Founded in 1982, the National Council on Independent Living “is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities.” They assist people to ensure accessibility, education, and independent living options. The organization has over 400 centers nationwide and provides free programs and services.

Here in Michigan, there is the Disability Network Michigan. Find a center near you by visiting this web page and selecting services by county.

Last Updated on October 31, 2023

The Michigan Conference