How to Become A2A

Featured

The UCCDM Board of Directors has approved a new and improved publication to help local Congregations, Association, and Conferences become Accessible to ALL (A2A)! The new publication is called “Any Body, Every Body, Christ’s Body” and replaces the curriculum of the same title that was produced in the 1990’s.

The new Any Body, Every Body, Christ’s Body can be accessed here as a pdf. Please send a message to secretary@uccdm.org if you need the information in a particular format. At the current time there are no plans to make print versions.

This guide is designed to be used in conjunction with the Accessibility Audit and A2A checklist that were revised earlier this year. If you have other questions related to A2A please contact the board at Chair@uccdm.org.

Is Your Congregation Ready to Explore Accessible to All (A2A)?

Featured

The UCCDM encourages all setting of the United Church of Christ to be Accessible to All (A2A)!

New tools are NOW ready to help local congregations determine how accessible their programs and buildings are. (Accessibility is more than a ramp!) This tool is called the Church Building And Program Accessibility Audit. This church accessibility audit can be completed online (Church Building and Program Audit ONLINE). It is also available to be printed as a PDF (UCCDM Church Building and Program Audit 12 pt PDF), LARGE PRINT PDF (UCCDM Church Building and Program Audit 16 pt PDF), Word Document (UCCDM Church Building and Program Audit 12 pt WORD), and LARGE PRINT Word Document (UCCDM Church Building and Program Audit 16 pt WORD).

Once a congregation completes a building and program audit and has identified how to become more (or continue being) inclusive of people with disabilities or/and mental health concerns, the congregation may be ready to become Accessible to All (A2A). To become A2A a congregation completes an A2A Checklist. The checklist was revised in 2016 is available to be completed online (UCCDM A2A Checklist ONLINE)or printed as a PDF (UCCDM A2A Checklist PDF) or in LARGE PRINT (UCCDM A2A Checklist LARGE PRINT PDF).

Congregations that complete the A2A Checklist are added to the A2A Listing!

UCCDM Updates Publication to Help Congregations, Associations, and Conferences Become Accessible to All (A2A)

The UCC Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) has recently released an updated publication entitled “Any Body, Every Body, Christ’s Body: A Guide for Congregations, Associations, and Conferences for Becoming Accessible to All.” The subtitle is a response to the growing need for all settings of the UCC to become “Accessible to All” (A2A) persons with disabilities. The call for the UCC to become accessible in all aspects of church life including worship, fellowship, and leadership was made clear when the Twenty-Fifth General Synod adopted the resolution “Called to Wholeness in Christ: Becoming a Church Accessible to All” in 2005.

The updated “Any Body, Every Body, Christ’s Body” contains four concise sections. The first section introduces various forms, but not all forms, of disability and accessibility. The second section addresses how leadership can be accessible to all. Third section addresses attitudes that often discourages people with disabilities and their families from church participation. The fourth section addresses ways to create accessible communication for the church community. These sections will help UCC settings address specific needs called for by the Synod “Called to Wholeness in Christ”. These sections will help UCC settings learn how to establish an inclusion task force, how to explore your building and programs for accessibility, how to invite persons with disability to church and into leadership positions and how to seek out resources and mentors in the disability committee so that the civil rights “nothing about us without us” commitment to persons with disabilities is maintained.

This new publication provides information and resources that will guide congregations as they answer the call to become Accessible to All. The resource is available for free at uccdm.org. The UCCDM Board of Directors looks forward to being a resource to other setting of the church. How-to support for becoming A2A is available. Questions can be directed to chair@uccdm.org or secretary@uccdm.org.

UCC Disabilities Ministries Seeks Nominations for Board of Directors

The UCC Disabilities Ministries Board’s Nominations Committee is seeking people who are passionate about disability ministry who would like to serve on our Board.  Our Board is made up of people with disabilities, professionals who work in the disability field, and family members of people with disabilities.  Our mission is to encourage our denomination to create worship and meeting places, programs and leadership that are accessible to all (A2A) and welcoming and inclusive of all persons with disabilities.  

Some of our short term goals include increasing the number of A2A congregations in the UCC; providing guidance to associations, conferences, camps, and other settings of the UCC about how they can live out the commitment to be Accessible to All; working to have a UCCDM presence at Synod 2017; and major fundraising to support the future of the ministry.

Someone interested in serving with us should be someone who is a member of a UCC congregation; regularly reads, responds to, and is comfortable with using email; can devote a minimum of ten (10) hours a month to this work, which includes a monthly conference call meeting of about 90 minutes to two hours. Being a Board Director includes a willingness to make a financial commitment to our disability ministry each year and serve on at least one Board subcommittee. At this time we are looking to fill two terms that will end in September 2017. According to UCCDM by-laws persons who fill these seats at this time would be eligible to be re-elected for the 2017-2023 term on the UCCDM Board of Directors. Two other seats for the 2017-2023 term will also need to be filled and persons applying at this time will also be considered for those seats.

We encourage interested candidates to visit our website at http://www.uccdm.org to learn more about us. The nominating form must be filled out online at  UCCDM Board Director Nominations 2016. Nominations must be received by December 9th, 2016.

Yours in Ministry,

Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas

Chair, UCC Disabilities Ministries Board of Directors

UCCDM Spring & Summer Update 2016

Grace and peace to those who may be interested in the work of the UCC Disability Ministries Board–Friends, UCC Members, UCC Clergy, UCC persons with disability and our ecumenical partners.

This is to provide you with an update of the work of the UCC Disabilities Ministry (UCCDM) Board of Directors during our Spring and Summer quarters of 2016.

We are pleased to announce one new member to the board and a new ex-officio member. Early this summer UCCDM extended an invitation to Rev. Gunnar Cerda, from the Ohio Conference, as a board member.  As much as we are excited to welcome our new board member we also said goodbye to four board members. Rev. Susan Burns, Minnesota Conference and Vice Chair, and Rev. Nancy Erickson, Nebraska Conference, have submitted their resignations from the board.  Rev. Dr. Sarah Griffith Lund, Ex-Offico Mental Health Network, also stepped down.

We regret to inform that Minister Brenda Waleff, Minister of Communications for Penn Central Conference and cherished board member of UCCDM (class 2017), recently passed due to medical complications. Brenda Waleff contributed greatly to UCCDM including fundraising which lead to reaching our goal for the Virginia Kryer Scholarship of raising $100,000 in 2015.

Exciting News Regarding A2A Guidance

We are happy to announce an updated version of our A2A guidebook for congregations seeking to become A2A. The new guidebook will accompany the A2A Checklist for churches and the Church Building and Program Accessibility Audit tool, now available on the uccdm.org. Board members have been hard at work over the past year updating information to provide the most up-to-date information for congregations, associations, and conferences who are considering becoming Accessible to All.

UCCDM Outreach

The UCCDM was present at a number of UCC Conference Annual Gatherings this summer. Workshops were given at the Rocky Mountain Conference and South Central Conference. Tables were hosted at the Penn Central Conference, Southern California Nevada Conference, and Vermont Conferences. A2A information was also made available at Annual Meetings of the Nebraska Conference and Southwest Conference.

If you would like to have the UCCDM present in your Conference, please ask your Conference staff to invite the UCCDM. If you would like to host a table at your Conference event please contact the Board two to three months in advance so materials and training can be provided to you.

UCCDM Believes….

Ms. Danielle Rochford represented UCCDM at Believe National Youth Event from July 26th to July 29th. During NYE we met amazing youth and church leaders from all over the nation joining together at Disney World to talk about what it really means to believe.  During TIE Hall times Danielle met many who became excited upon learning that there is a ministry that advocates for their needs, youth who wanted to know how to include those with disabilities, and heartfelt conversations focusing on parents and youth personal stories.

2016 Annual Meeting Chicago, IL

UCCDM Board Directors are preparing to meet for our Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL September 29th-30th where we will be discussing future works of UCCDM for the 2016-2017 year.

In Grace,
Ms. Danielle Rochford
UCCDM Secretary

Annual Meeting of the UCCDM Board of Directors

The United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries Board of Director’s Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday September 29 and Friday September 30, 2016. The meeting will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Addison, Illinois. Some Board members will arrive early to attend the Pathways to Promise Conference on September 28th.

UCCDM By-laws allow for persons interested in the work of the UCCDM to attend the Annual Board meeting at their own expense. This meeting will not be webcast, limited conference call access may be available. Anyone interested in attending this meeting should complete the Call to the UCCDM Annual meeting 2016 form. Anyone needing accommodations to attend this meeting should contact the UCCDM Chair, Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas at chair@uccdm.org no later than September 15th.

Reaction and Action

Upon learning of the Tuesday morning attack at a residential center for people with disabilities in Sagamihara, Japan, I wept.

I wept for the sleeping souls who will never again awaken, for their families and friends left to mourn their sudden and tragic deaths. I wept for my brothers and sisters with disabilities who may feel afraid, and I wept for our world. Tears of anger and sadness.

Calling a friend to ask if she had heard this horrifying news, felt like something I needed to do. As we talked about the senselessness of this massacre, she said something that seemed profound. “Let’s just pray that we, as two people on the phone, and we as a society, never get so callus that we do not react with tears and anger at the news of such tragedy.”

This was powerful because it seems every day we wake to tragedy and injustice being reported from somewhere. How often do we feel shaken by the violence reported on tv, in social media and we react, but don’t respond? But what do we do? Of course we want to pray to a Comforting God and ask for peace. I think we should. Like the imprisoned John the Baptist, my heart questioned. So my next conversation was with my pastor. My pastor suggested that I use this pain and turn it into action. And another friend suggested I write a prayer. So my first action was to write some thoughts, and my second to share them.

A dear friend gave me a wonderful gift, a book that I often turn to, and I’d like to share with you a poem as a prayer…

Taken from Out of the Ordinary, Copyright 2000 by Joyce Rupp. Used by permission of Ave Maria Press. All rights reserved.

Leaning on the heart of God

I am leaning on the heart of God.

I am resting there in silence.

All the turmoil that exhausts me

Is brought to bear on this great love.

No resistance or complaint is heard

As I lean upon God’s welcome.

There is gladness for my coming.

There is comfort for my pain.

I lean, and lean, and lean

Upon this heart that hurts with me.

Strength lifts the weight of my distress.

Courage wraps around my troubles.

No miracle of instant recovery.

No taking away of life’s burdens.

Yet, there is solace for my soul,

And refuge for my exiled tears.

It is enough for me to know

The heart of God is with me,

Full of mercy and compassion,

Tending to the wounds I bear.

I will be taking further actions to speak out against the violence of ableism. I pray others will do the same. Awareness of this, often discreet, dehumanization of people with disabilities, is key to stopping the violence. Continued prayers for peace, mercy and love for all peoples.

Terry Martinez

UCC Disabilities Ministries

Board of Directors, Vice Chair