1999 DM Resolution: The Calling of Clergy with Disabilities

Inclusion of Clergy with Disabilities


Theological Rationale

Text of the Resolution

WHEREAS, in 1977 the Eleventh General Synod approved the Pronouncements, “The Church and Persons with Handicaps,” which encouraged all settings of the United Church of Christ to implement full employment of persons with disabilities;

WHEREAS, in 1981 the Thirteenth General Synod approved the Proposal for Action, “The Church and Persons with Handicaps,” which included Calls for affirmative action in the hiring of persons with disabilities in our local churches and throughout the church;

WHEREAS, in 1985 the Fifteenth General Synod approved “Full Participation for Persons with Disabilities in the Life of the Church,” which “recommends that local churches, associations, conferences, instrumentalities and other national bodies seek out persons with disabilities to become actively involved in all aspects of the church;”

WHEREAS, in 1995 the Twentieth General Synod approved “Concerning the Church and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA),” which challenges the United Church of Christ to embrace the spirit of the ADA and hold itself to be morally bound by the provisions of the ADA which prohibit employment discrimination against person with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, despite the above General Synod actions, barriers remain within local churches, conferences, and national boards to calling clergy with disabilities to serve;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that in the next two years, there be an aggressive campaign to assist clergy persons with disabilities in the call process. The Office for Church Life and Leadership and/or its successor body in partnership with the NCPWD is requested to lead this effort;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Office for Church Life and Leadership and/or its successor body, in partnership with the NCPWD is requested to develop educational programs and resources for the church to address discrimination against clergy persons with disabilities and to include appropriate materials in research committee notebooks.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that all United Church of Christ related seminaries be urged to remove barriers– architectural, attitudinal, and cultural-which prohibit persons with disabilities from receiving the same preparation as non-disabled persons. Funding for this action will be made in accordance with the overall mandates of the affected agencies and the funds available.

Prudential Resolution: Requires a majority vote for passage.