What We Believe

The United Church is committed to becoming an open, accessible, and barrier-free church, where there is full participation of people with disabilities. To start off, the church has been consulting with people with disabilities and their allies and exploring theologies of disabilities.

Jesus sought out the very people who lived with disabilities and marginalization in his society. He found ways of actively engaging them in their communities. But people living with disabilities—a dynamic category that anyone can join at any time—often find themselves on the margins of church life.

You are invited to join us in learning to dismantle barriers to full participation and create safe, trusting spaces that reflect the diversity of Christ’s body.

What You Can Do

Group of attendees at Gathering Together
Gathering Together, a consultation for people with disabilities and their allies, 2013, Toronto.
Kaitlin Bardswich, The United Church of Canada
  • Pay attention to the stories of people living with disability, and learn to become an ally and advocate. If you identify as living with disability, get involved with the Disability Ministries Facebook group.
  • Ask if your Conference or presbytery has a committee that includes a focus on disabilities; explore if you can join the group.
  • Consider how your community of faith can become a more accessible one for people with a range of disabilities. The United Church’s Accessibility Audit for Communities of Faith (available under Downloads, below) might help move in the right direction.
  • Get more involved with the church’s intercultural vision, which calls us not to merely expand categories of inclusion, but to challenge relations of domination.
  • On a practical level, involve yourself with efforts to build more accessible community spaces. The United Church welcomes the Accessible Canada Act to make Canada fully inclusive.
  • Watch the United in Learning webinar series Disabilities and the Church
  • Read background reports on the church’s disability initiatives (e.g., Open and Accessible, 2012; Theologies of Disabilities, 2015) at the United Church Commons.
  • Find thematic worship materials on our Disabilities Awareness Day page.
  • Explore the Student Christian Movement of Canada's Disability, Faith and Justice Devotional (free download from SCM website). We are all made in the image of God, but people with disabilities have been excluded and shamed for who they are. This devotional asks: How should our faith shape us in this struggle?

Related Programs and Groups

For more information, contact 

Emelito YangoProgram Coordinator, People In Partnership, Global Programeyango [at] united-church.ca416-231-7680