Comments for United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries on a mission to make the UCC Accessible to All (A2A) Mon, 14 Nov 2016 19:46:48 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on FAQ by Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas Mon, 14 Nov 2016 19:46:48 +0000 Which A2A document are you referring to? There have been several.The original Any Body, Everybody, Christ’s Body: A guide for Congregations has a date of 2005.

Any Body, Every Body, Christ’s Body: A Guide for Congregations, Associations, and Conferences to Become A2A was updated in 2016. The 2016 document can be accessed on the resource page.

Comment on Blessing of the Options: A Litany by Rev. Debra Newcomb Mon, 03 Oct 2016 05:36:14 +0000 Another good one created for Access and Disability Awareness Sunday. Thanks so much!

Comment on Access Sunday: Blessing of Life-Giving Tools by Rev. Debra Newcomb Mon, 03 Oct 2016 05:31:17 +0000 Perfect! I look forward to using it this coming Sunday. Thanks for thinking of it, creating and sharing it with all of us.

Comment on Is Your Congregation Ready to Explore Accessible to All (A2A)? by Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas Wed, 31 Aug 2016 23:44:10 +0000 Dear Lee,

In the UCC, ONA specifically refers to the GLBTQI community according to the ONA Coalition. Some individual congregations expand their ONA to all people including persons with disability and mental health concerns.

Just as the ONA movement began as a way for GLBTQI individuals to find congregations prepared to welcome them. The A2A movement is a way for persons with disabilities and their families to find congregations that may be physically accessible to them and willing to include them in all aspects of congregational life. WISE is a new UCC designation used to identify congregations who have done work specific to preparing to welcome persons with mental health conditions; WISE was approved by General Synod 2015.

I understand that many people want ONA to include all persons. As a disability activist inside and outside the church one of the things I have learned is that while the effort to include GLBTQI persons and persons with disability is similar the theological reflection and community work to do this is not the same. There are specific things like physical accessibility that have to be addressed to welcome people with disabilities and that is not a part of the ONA program or work. ONA congregations are welcomed and encouraged to also become A2A and WISE! Congregations who have chosen not to, or who have not yet, become ONA are also welcome to become A2A. Inclusion has to start somewhere and it does not start with the same group in all settings.

Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, UCCDM Chair

Comment on Is Your Congregation Ready to Explore Accessible to All (A2A)? by Lee Bowley Sat, 23 Jul 2016 21:52:51 +0000 I am sorry, I thought that being ONA meant EVERYONE, regardless of who they are, where they come from, what color, race, sexual orientation, mental health status, activity level……… EVERYONE is welcome.

So now I am reading about A2A – please….explain to me the difference. To me this is casting just another “title”, “acronym” or identifying another group of people who are DIFFERENT . This is so ridiculous!

ONA is NOT just about the LGBTQ…. Population, it means we welcome EVERYBODY. I have to say, as a lesbian, this is getting to by over kill. In an effort to ensure we get every type of disability, sexual orientation, color of skin, whether your short or tall, fat or skinny…. We isolate and put certain like people into separate categories … This is like the “ole days”. Just welcome, love everyone, just like Jesus did and stop all this identifiable difference and just accept & love.

Comment on Braille Hymnal Request by Debbie Tue, 05 Jul 2016 18:45:16 +0000 I am looking also for a wonderful young man recently blind. Music has always been a big part of his life. Now he can only hum. What a fantastic gift for churches to be all inclusive, not only in gender but in assisting with participation.

Comment on FAQ by Ronnette Comfort-Butler Mon, 27 Jun 2016 17:09:48 +0000 Hi, I was wondering when the A2A document was written? I could not find that in the packet. Could use some help.
Ronnette Comfort-Butler

Comment on Braille Hymnal Request by Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas Wed, 08 Jun 2016 06:07:23 +0000 As far as I know there is no Braille edition of TNCH. Please contact the publisher, Pilgrim Press for further assistance.
Thank You,
Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, UCCDM Chair 2015-2017

Comment on Braille Hymnal Request by Lucy Painter Tue, 23 Feb 2016 21:43:10 +0000 I too am looking for a Braille edition of New Century hymnal for a blind couple in our Sarasota, FL UCC. So far I have had no success. Any help?

Comment on Imitation by Teddy Branom Tue, 23 Feb 2016 13:51:30 +0000 I recently had Megan and family for dinner at my home. What a delightful young woman. We became immediate BBFs. At a time when I have just lost my life partner, her friendship is a brearg of fresh air.
Teddy Brnom, Immanuel U.C.C., Ferguson, MO

Comment on Imitation by Kristin F. Haynes Tue, 23 Feb 2016 05:11:40 +0000 Beautiful & very true! I’ve been privileged to work with, for, and have had friends with “limitations”. Always find I’m the one limited, next to those same gifts Megan & other folks have. Thanks for the nice reminder & trip down “memory lane”. Enjoyed it all!

Comment on Imitation by Pat Strickland Mon, 22 Feb 2016 21:17:59 +0000 What a beautiful tribute to Megan. Thank you for reminding us to be thankful for all our abilities, and to appreciate those who may be limited. Knowing Megan is a delight. She is such a kind and caring young woman.

Comment on Interpreting in Church for Deaf Persons by Betty Keller Sun, 21 Feb 2016 02:12:44 +0000 We have two deaf members for whom English is their second language – ASL is their first, and something as complicated as the sermon was too hard for them to read and understand in the time the pastor took to deliver it, so giving them the sermon to read wasn’t sufficient. In addition, even if they could read a fast as someone pointing to where we were in the bulletin and sermon could indicate, some announcements were in the bulletin but they were missing out on announcements and prayer concerns that were spontaneously raised. We live in a rural area in Vermont and there were insufficient sign language interpreters in the area, and our DSL was insufficient for using FaceTime or Skype in the sanctuary. So we upgraded our internet from DSL to cable, and so far that has generally been sufficient uploading and downloading.

Vermont has a non-profit interpreter service, which provides a list of interpreters throughout the state, and you can call yourself, or pay them a fee to seek an interpreter for you. Some interpreters are in New Hampshire. We are rural enough that only three live close enough to afford having them come in person (since you pay their travel time, too), and they either have other commitments or do not interpret worship services. So at this point we are trying to set up a schedule for interpreters each Sunday to interpret remotely. They charge from $40 to $50/hour with a two-hour minimum, and so far I have only identified one who has been available roughly two Sundays per month; another who is willing to work one Sunday; and another who we will be trying for the first time in mid-March.

A number of interpreters in Vermont either don’t interpret for worship services; they are already interpreting for their own churches (often volunteering); or they are active in a church and unavailable as they are teaching Sunday School, etc.

We really need a “deeper bench”, as we already had one Sunday for which none of those interpreters were available. In addition, we are interested in learning of interpreters who might charge less, to make it easier on our budget. Since we only have two deaf members, there is some opposition to the cost of being accessible to all in this way.

We would be very interested in knowing whether the national UCC organization has a list of people who are willing to interpret worship services for Open and Affirming UCC churches remotely, and especially those who will interpret for a reduced rate; will not charge the two-hour minimum; or will donate their services. In particular, we are thinking that people on the west cost, for whom our service is before theirs, might be interested since they could still attend their own service.

In addition, if this is infrequent enough that you have an interest in helping us broadcast the interpretation of our services, please let me know. We currently are set up to record the service for the typical listener who hears, so they are watching the speaker or those singing, and airing it on our local public access TV station. But there may be an easy way to record and broadcast the Skype interpretation via the internet for a national audience.

We greatly appreciate any help you can give.

Peace in Christ,

Betty J. Keller, MD
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
on behalf of United Community Church, UCC
(new church forming from the merging of two small churches, no new website yet)

Comment on UCCDM Lenten Devotional–Old Bones by Yasmanialejandro Fri, 04 Dec 2015 17:10:34 +0000 The school I work at uses Social Thinking ( While not nerissacely a ‘social skills’ curriculum, I think it is incredibly helpful for students to learn to think about others and how their actions affect others and cause others to have thoughts about them. I would recommend checking it out.

Comment on UCCDM Update March 2015 by Dheerendra Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:02:02 +0000 I had no idea these numbers were so high :(. I’ve been sineeg a lot of commercials lately about depression and mental health awareness. Just this morning I watched an open panel discussion on suicide. People are talking more now than ever I think. I just hope the talking doesn’t stop.

Comment on Widening the Welcome: Inclusion for All Conference by Hosam Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:48:32 +0000 I don’t know who you wrote this for but you helped a brehtor out.

Comment on UCCDM Reaches $100,000 Milestone, Press Release by Jeff Garrison-Tate Wed, 23 Sep 2015 21:38:31 +0000 This is fantastic. Thank you for putting our money to match up with the principles of UCC.

Comment on UCCDM Annual Meeting for 2015 Announced by Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas Mon, 14 Sep 2015 22:32:53 +0000 The registration brochure for Widening the Welcome was emailed to you on September 2, 2015.
Rev. Kelli

Comment on UCCDM Annual Meeting for 2015 Announced by Joanne Coghill Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:36:12 +0000 Please send me more information about widening the welcome 2015 inclusion for all meeting Sept. 24-26 in Windsor, CT

Comment on Top 10 Ways Churches Can Include People With Disabilities by Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas Thu, 30 Jul 2015 03:59:54 +0000 To whom it may concern:
This list is about including all people with disabilities in the life of the church–those with mental health concerns and those without. The list specifically addresses inclusion of people with mental health challenges with #10 which references the WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supporting, Engaging) Resolution which the UCCDM proposed and saw adopted at the recent UCC Synod 30 in Cleveland, OH.

The UCCDM aims to include all people in the life of the Church and congregations. For many years UCCDM fostered work around mental health inclusion in the churches, as mental health is classified as a disability according to the ADA. In 2014 the UCC Mental Health Network, which had been a subcommittee of UCCDM, officially separated from the UCCDM with the hope that more focus could come to their work if the were an independent entity. See the press release about the growth of the UCCDM and UCCMHN ministries for more details.The UCCMHN has a website:

The UCCDM and UCCMHN continue to partner in many ways. The WISE resolution passed at Synod is one example. Another is the annual Widening the Welcome Conference. We hope to see you in Hartford!

Comment on Widening the Welcome 2015 by Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas Sat, 04 Jul 2015 00:24:29 +0000 Dear Emily,

The Widening the Welcome Registration informations is available online.

The full registration packet is available at

You can also check the Widening the Welcome Website for more information that can be found at

Thanks for contacting UCCDM and please let me know if I can further assist you,
Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas, UCCDM Secretary

Comment on Top 10 Ways Churches Can Include People With Disabilities by Ally Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:32:36 +0000 Does this include those labeled or not with a mental illness?”

Comment on Top 10 Ways Churches Can Include People With Disabilities by Robert Kates Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:37:37 +0000 Thank you for posting this. Unfortunately even our churches in the U.C.C.need to be reminded of these “10 Ways.”

Comment on Widening the Welcome 2015 by Emily La Croix Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:25:13 +0000 Please send to me registration materials. I am so grateful that the UCC is putting on this conference.

Comment on UCC Disabilities Ministries Seeks Nominations for Board of Directors-2015 by Rev. Kelli Parrish Lucas Mon, 04 May 2015 04:16:23 +0000 Dear Heather,

Peace and grace to you from the UCC Disabilities Ministries Board. We wish to thank you for sharing your story and concerns with us.

Those of us with disabilities and those like you who parent children with disabilities share your frustrations as we experience or watch our children experience exclusion and hear hurtful comments. The task of guiding others toward inclusion is not easy on good days and is filled with hurt, anger, and emotional scarring on bad days. I am pleased to know that Dominique has persisted through these daily challenges and will be joining the church soon.

I want to address the financial aspects of serving on our Board which you questioned. Many on our Board have little or no income so our financial expectations and obligations are very small, especially when compared to other boards of directors. Board members travel for our ministry each year for annual meeting and under certain circumstances to Synod or other events we sponsor or participate in. Member travel is fully reimbursed by our board; this includes transportation expenses, hotel room, and many meals. If the person with the disability needs a nurse/assistant to travel with him/her, the Board covers the same expenses for the companion.

With Board service comes a financial obligation to donate to our sponsored scholarship fund. We ask each Board member to try and donate at least $25 to the fund. If this amount is too high, we would welcome a lower donation.

I’m glad to know that there are parents like you helping to effect inclusion in church and in the community. Inclusion ministry can unfortunately be slow moving in success and those involved with it often feel like they are alone in the cause. Please know that there are many of us out there working toward change and it will be thanks to all of us working together from both the pews and our boards that change will happen. We encourage you and/or Dominique to consider applying for our open Board position. Whether selected or not, we hope the application process will be a positive learning experience.

Rev. Lynda Bigler, Chair