Southern Religion

Disabled often still struggle to attend church

Physical barriers to church attendance are still a problem writes Dionne Walker in a story published by USA Today:

Years after federal law required accommodations for the disabled, separation of church and state means houses of worship remain largely beyond the law’s reach. State laws and denominational measures meant to take up the slack are tricky to enforce and face resistance from churches who call them both costly and impractical.

The issue is gaining new attention as the disabled community expands, fed by aging baby boomers and a growing number of people with intellectual disabilities who are demanding a more prominent place in the pews.A Centers for Disease Control report released in April found that an estimated 1 in 5 U.S. adults _47.5 million people — reported a disability. The National Organization on Disability estimates less than half of disabled Americans attend services at least once a month compared to 57% without disabilities.

Read the rest here.

The Episcopal Disability Network suggests more than 50 ways to make your parish more accessible.

[H/T: Episcopal Cafe]


January 15, 2010 - Posted by | Churches, Law | ,

1 Comment

  1. I am proud to belong to a church that is accessible for all with diabilities. Even though it is a small church, they’ve put in an elevator, wheelchair accessible bathroom, have cut out in the pews at various distances from the altar,(no person in a wheelchair want to be put up front “on display” because it is the only place for a wheelchair, OR in the back of the church where they can’t see when people stand up, OR in the aisle where people have to walk around them. Our church also has a sign language interpreter, and FM system for those hard of hearing, and large print and Braille information on the mass. It is also
    very welcoming to anyone with developmental disabilities or mental illness. I have a son who has Asperger’s and he is allowed to “help out” in the kindergarten Sunday school class, (it is very small, and he still gets a big does of religion. Also, he is a “helper” like many other teenagers in the church.) Several people come with developmental delays, including one woman who insist on sitting up on the altar. I have another son who has severe sensory integration deficits and prefers to “hide”, so they have let him sit in one of the cut-out positions on a pillow so he cannot be seen.I have a daughter who is deaf who sits in the front near the interpreter, and a son who is legally blind who uses the large print material. This church is SOOOOO in tune with the community, including individuals with disabilities. I am very lucky.
    Lindsey Petersen

    Comment by 5kidswdisabilities | January 16, 2010

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