Disability inclusion: Why it’s about more than a ramp
Kay Morgan-Gurr who is a fantastic children’s evangelist, has written a brilliant article following on from the Archbishop of Canterbury hosting a cutting edge disability conference at Lambeth Palace on July 13th called ‘A Place to Belong‘:
The heart for change was alive and well, but for change to happen this heart also needs to be alive and well in those who were not at the conference. We need change where the rubber hits the road, and I’m worried that the outcomes of this will only reach the already convinced and not the people who really need to hear it. …
It’s often the case that many churches – though not all – think inclusion begins and ends with a ramp. Most will provide for those of us with wheels, but even then some do it badly. In their minds, they’ve already ticked the discrimination box.
Disability is diverse, in both the range of disabilities and the type of support needed. There may be practical inclusion adjustments in a church, but the attitude is poor. This is why many in the disability community use the term ‘belonging’. It’s much more than inclusion. To quote John Swinton, who was at the conference, ‘Belonging is being missed when you’re not there.’ Or in my own words, it’s being missed for who you are, not a sigh of relief because the disabled person hasn’t turned up.