How to Become A2A


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. We will work on other formats soon. Send a message to 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

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


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 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 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 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

“Come and see for He is risen!”

This is a second Easter entry, the thirteenth, in the UCCDM Lenten Devotional 2016 series. This devotional reflection comes from Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas. Her bio can be found on the Board of Directors page.

“That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10:37-10:41)

“Come and see!” That is the shout for today and we have walked a long Lenten road to hear it. In receiving this message we become witnesses to the fact of the resurrection.
The gospels are full of messages of Jesus’s ministry, including Jesus’s healing of people with various illnesses. The healing stories of the gospels can be troublesome for some people with disabilities. The trouble with “miraculous healings” occurs when one is not healed as another may suppose. What then? There is a history of people with disabilities being blamed and shamed for being less than “faithful” when they are not “healed”. There are places around the world today where people with disabilities are seen as demon possessed and may actually be subject to physical harm if not “healed”. (It is why we need international treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.) Healings are part of the gospel and yet they remain troubling.
Then there is my own story. I was born with cerebral palsy (CP). I was born paralyzed on the right side. It is said I used my right hand to reach out for a toy at six months of age. It was not a miraculous cure. There were many other issues from the CP that would remain part of my life. My mother will sometimes say it was an answer to the prayers she said as she faithfully did my physical therapy. I’ve never been completely comfortable with that. I put in countless hours of multiple physical, occupational, and speech therapies well into my teens. If it was all prayer, why did I have to put in so much effort? Why do I still? But the truth is I do not know how it happened–I can not say it was all one thing and none of the other. What I do know  is that I have been fundamentally changed and that the spiritual presence of Jesus has been a constant in my life. I know I am a witness to the Risen Christ’s presence because there are things I have experienced in life and in the world I can explain no other way.
This is one reason I know I am called by God to preach about Jesus the Christ. This all sometimes confuses people who meet me and do not perceive that I have disabilities. Sometimes people have demanded proof of my disabilities. So sometimes I have to just laugh at those who do not believe my witness. And I trust that the Risen Christ will be made known in healing them too.
Dear God, we ask that You would watch over those people with disabilities who may be in danger. We ask you would grant us all hope. And that you would cure our unbelief. Amen!


Called by Name

For Easter Sunday, the final day that we’ll be posting the 2016 UCCDM Lenten Devotional series, our devotional reflection was written by Rev. Jeanne Tyler who is a former UCCDM Board Member.  Her bio can be found on the former Board of Directors webpage.

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.  So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple; the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them.  ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’  Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb.  They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and he went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.  Then the disciples went back to their homes.”

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.  They said to her, ‘woman, why are you weeping?’  She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’  Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom do you seek?’  Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’  Jesus said to her, ‘Mary’.  She turned  and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’  Jesus said to her , “do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’  Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.'”  (John 20:1-18)

In the early, early morning even before dawn, we discover Mary Magdalene up and walking toward the tomb.  We suspect a new reality is gaining favor, is emerging, is coming to light.  So, it begins in the desolation of death.  Death is the reality we expect.  And so it was with Mary Magdalene. She came alone in the dark barely able to see.  She expected to find the tomb with the stone firmly in place.  I mean that is what dead is.  She came to the tomb in the dark and discovered the stone had been removed from the tomb.  The stone was not where it was supposed to be.  She cannot imagine an open tomb.  She worried that someone had taken the dead body of Jesus and disposed of it; making even more of a mockery of Jesus.  This would end even more the promises of Jesus.  There would be no comfort and life would continue in its dreary dark never changing way.  The present dead would remain as the past.  And, the future was unchangeable.

Someone calls her name.  Someone she does not recognize.  “Mary” is spoken and heard and recognized.  As a person with a hearing loss even with two hearing aids I can hear a sound and not recognize the word spoken.  Someone knows her.  I do not think Mary was hearing impaired but I do believe she was in shock or amazement that anyone in that tomb knew her name.  Someone calls her name, “Mary”, and at this moment she recognizes by the voice, her friend Jesus, the Crucified and Risen Lord!

The past becomes sweet, the present secure and the future hopeful.  It is Easter Sunday.  Hallelujah!!!   Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  The horrific experiences and fears of death are vanquished by the voice of the one who calls Mary from fear to joy, from resignation to recognition, from silence to courage, from alone in the tomb to community with brothers and sisters in Jerusalem.  She went and told the others “I have seen the Lord”

This Easter story gives me courage.  It begins with Mary stumbling in the dark toward death not her own death but toward the dead body of Jesus who gave her and the others hope and meaning and fulfillment.  It includes tears and bewilderment and helplessness.  In the midst of this is a voice that calls her name and she recognizes his voice.  It gives her all the courage she needs,  all the hope she needs, all the love she needs, all the authorization she needs to proclaim, “I have seen the Lord”.  May it also be so with you!

Prayer:  Though we stumble and don’t always hear your first call to us yet you call us again and we recognize the voice of one who loves us.  Filled with gratitude we respond with courage and hope and perseverance for a church that is inclusive.  Amen.