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    Press release #4 – 22 May 2014 Is disability the elephant in the church? Gordon Temple, CEO of Torch Trust, braves a difficult topic The truth is, many of us just don’t know what to say when we meet a disabled person, particularly when we know that the disability is permanent, chronic or life-limiting. The light social chitchat we normally adopt for encounters with people after the morning service somehow doesn’t seem appropriate. How do we approach someone with dementia? How can we engage in conversation with an autistic person? Or with someone in a wheelchair? Just what is an appropriate pastoral response towards someone who has just told you that they are going blind? How can we say something meaningful to an overwrought carer? Will I say the wrong thing, provoke an angry response or accidently say something that will cause hurt or upset? If I offer help will I appear patronising? And if I don’t, do I appear uncaring – and leave the disabled person feeling unwelcome? It’s easy to see why some of us find reason for a hasty retreat, or make an excuse to leave – or stick to benign remarks about the weather! Disability can certainly be the elephant in the church! The Enabling Church day conference won’t give you pat answers to these genuinely challenging issues. But it will give you the insights and confidence to talk to people with disability and chronic illness. It will give you some pastoral understanding of what’s involved in being a disabled person in a world focussed on achievement and physical perfection. It will begin to equip you to engage with a largely-overlooked but growing section of the community who all too easily find themselves isolated, lonely and frankly marginalised. It will give you the courage to communicate with people humiliated by popular misconceptions about benefits scrounging. It will help you take a big step forward in valuing people who need to know that God loves and cares for them and that their disability is no barrier to them becoming valued and contributing members of their local church. Enabling Church: Everybody in!takes place onJune 3rd at Bethel Convention Centre in West Bromwich, just off the M5 and near central Birmingham. For more information about the programme and the line-up of speakers, go to . Disability affects the lives of more than one in six...

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Recordings & Transcripts

    Audio Recordings: Due in the main to the very limited time available to set up beforehand, the audio recordings of the day are not of high quality. We apologise for this but hope they will still enable you to gain something from the rich content that the speakers brought to the conference. Transcripts: As well as audio recordings there are transcripts of the many of the conference talks. These have been provided by Orla Pearson who provided the Speech to Text service on the day. They are largely unedited so please read them with this in mind. At this time no transcripts are available for the Streams. (An offer from a volunteer to transcribe from the recordings would be welcomed: The Text from the Presentation Slides used in some of the Streams was processed by Torch Trust into braille and large print for use on the day and the large print PDF files can be downloaded below … Enabling Church presentations handout 17pt Enabling Church presentations handout 25pt Contact Churches for All if you want a braille copy of the presentations handout – it will be provide by Torch Trust Morning Plenary Session Hosts: Sophia Nicholls and Michael Sharkey Read transcript of opening session with Michael Sharkey & Sophia Nicholls No audio recording available due to technical issues Welcome: Rt Revd Clive Gregory, Bishop of Wolverhampton Due to a technical that affected recordings in the early part of the conference this recording is of very poor quality. We are hoping to replace it soon and/or offer the Bishop’s script. Play audio recording of Bishop Clive’s address Read transcript of Bishop Clive’s address Worship: led by James Bowden Video address: Joni Eareckson Tada, Joni and Friends Watch the video address by Joni Eareakson Tada Read transcript of the video address by  Joni Eareckson-Tada A church for all – abled, disabled, enabled: Roy McCloughry What does it mean to be “Enabled” or even “an Enabling Church”? Is this a new buzz word? Or a deep insight into the nature of the gospel? How can those who are abled and those who are disabled become one community in a world wishing to keep them separate because it is convenient to pretend that the ambition and power of the abled are the norm for a successful life? Play audio recording of Roy McCloughry Read transcript of Roy McCloughry’s address Interview:...

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Disabled people

These pages draw together sources of guidance for churches on the inclusion of people with disabilities. New information and links will be added from time to time. Dyslexia – adults The guide has been provided Aurora Betony, written out of her own experience. Dementia An article written by Prof John Swinton. Autism Spectrum Ann Memmott, on the autism spectrum and advisor on autism to the Church of England and government, has authored some helpful resources … Welcoming and Including Autistic People in our Churches and Communities: Autism-Guidelines-2019 (Oxford Diocese) (PDF) A tabular guide on the inclusion of people within church life : Autism inclusion (HTML) Also the National Autistic Society has produced guidance: Going to a place of worship Accessible Community Festivals A guide produced by Through the Roof    ...

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