He continued, “What’s a good image for God’s kingdom? What parable can I use to explain it? Consider a mustard seed. When scattered on the ground, it’s the smallest of all the seeds on the earth; but when it’s planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all vegetable plants. It produces such large branches that the birds in the sky are able to nest in its shade.”
Mark 4:30-32 (CEB)
Accessibility and inclusion seeds were recently figuratively planted at the Conference Board of Directors’ meeting during a presentation by the Conference Accessibility Team (formerly the Conference Inclusion Team).
The presentation was in connection with the Conference working toward the designation of Accessible to All (A2A). The A2A designation is granted by UCC Disabilities Ministries Board to local churches, associations, conferences and other church settings that do the work to be physically, mentally and emotionally accessible, inclusive and welcoming to persons living with disabilities. The plan to pursue this designation was passed through the Resolution of Affirmation for the SCNC of the United Church of Christ to become an Accessible To All (A2A) Conference at the 2020 Annual Gathering.
During the presentation Board members were encouraged to think of times they may have personally experienced or seen examples of lack of accessible accommodations or inclusion of persons living with disabilities; then, think of what action steps may have been taken. You are encouraged to reflect on these examples as well. The Conference Accessibility Team shared ways of making change happen in church settings. The UCC Disabilities Ministries guide, Any Body, Every Body, Christ’s Body, which contains information on communication, language, leadership and more, was used as a reference.
During small group discussions, several suggestions emerged on ways church settings can implement full accessibility and inclusion such as: engaging in interfaith conversations about ideas and resources, celebrating Access Sunday, making safe spaces allowing people with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of church life.
Through this work, seeds of inclusion will continue to be planted and grown throughout the conference, providing safe spaces for all of God’s children to worship and work together to the glory of God.
Please visit the Conference Accessibility Team’s page on the Conference website at SCNCUCC.org.