Delegates at Mennonite Church USA’s (MC USA) Special Session of the Delegate Assembly unanimously approved the MC USA Accessibility Resolution. The resolution commits to “calling out and employing the leadership gifts of people with disabilities”. This resolution was sponsored by MHS and was a collaboration between MHS and Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADN).
“This resolution was the result of a collaborative effort between ADN, and several MC USA congregations, with the support of MHS,” said Jeanne Davies, ADN Executive Director. She continued, “We are delighted that the resolution passed with unanimous affirmation and look forward to working with congregations to increase accessibility for people with disabilities.”
Clare Krabill, COO represented MHS in writing and processing the resolution with MC USA. “Many people may not be aware that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) cannot be enforced in houses of worship,” said Clare Krabill. “This resolution and its accompanying tools and resources can serve congregations within MCUSA and the greater Church to improve accessibility for all, including those served by MHS member organizations.”
MC USA has partnered with ADN to launch the “Welcoming EveryBODY: Learn, Pray, Join” initiative. Welcoming EveryBODY celebrates the many gifts that people with disabilities bring to our church communities. This initiative offers resources, grant opportunities, and tools to advocate for people with disabilities, their families, and those who provide leadership support at local, national, and international levels.
MC USA has created a Welcoming EveryBODY page that provides resources for individuals, congregations, and organizations looking to learn, pray, and join. Individuals can read the full resolution, and find books, podcasts, presentations, and resources from Anabaptist Disabilities Network. Erika Lea-Simka, pastor, Albuquerque Mennonite Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico offers an inspiring prayer. And those who would like to join as advocates can find resources and opportunities to become more disability-inclusive in their congregation or organization.
“We can work together to make the church a place of welcome for people with diverse gifts, abilities, and impairments. When all people are valued as a beloved and necessary part of the church, we more fully realize the body of Christ,” said Jeanne Davies.
To find all of these resources and learn how you can welcome everybody, go to https://www.mennoniteusa.org/ministry/peacebuilding/learn-pray-join/welcoming-everybody/