The church community is only complete when all are welcome.
In the Diocese of Oxford, we celebrate the inclusion, contribution and ministry of disabled people, recognising that the church community is only complete when all are welcome, and the partnership that should exist between disabled people and those who are non-disabled.
We aim to support parishes, deaneries and the diocese in ensuring that our buildings, activities and services are welcoming and accessible for disabled people. This work includes mentoring, disability access audits for churches; disability awareness sessions for parish or deanery groups; other forms of training, and individual advice to parishes on disability issues.
You can also find out more about the work being done in the Deaf Churches by going to the website of the Oxford Council for the Deaf and Hard of hearing (the link is here). For an introduction to D/deaf culture and some of the challenges faced by this community, there is an excellent article here written by Lucy Cooper.
Top tips for churches
What makes a good disabled loo?
The Revd Katie Tupling gives you the grand tour of a church toilet, highlighting all the things to consider to help create the most accessible disabled loo possible. There's more suggestions for your disabled loo beneath the video, too.
Additional thoughts on toilets...
Not everyone who uses a disabled loo will be a wheelchair user.
Grab rails are needed to help get people from the door to the loo to the handbasin and towels and back to the door - that way, no one has to precariously reverse themselves out of the room. If possible, the door should have a grab rail too.
Pull cords should be in reach, as mentioned in the video, but make sure they aren't right next to a rail to minimise accidental use.
A further thought on the flush location - avoid having it on the tank itself, where someone would have to turn all the way around to use it.
Changing tables should be robust enough for use by older children and adults - you can still get adult-sized beds that lift up to the wall to preserve floor space.
Our thanks to St Mary & St Nicholas' Church, Littlemore, for their help. See more of their church in the first top tips video - accessibility in church buildings.
A BSL-interpreted version of this series will be made available in 2023 - we apologise it can't be sooner.
Vocations through the lens of disability & neurodivergence
25 February 2023, Church House Oxford
Meet and chat with people with first-hand experience of exploring their Christian calling through the lens of disability and neurodiversity.
Loving God, we pray for all disabled people across the world.
May all disabled people know your love.
May your Church recognise and value the gifts and skills of disabled people.
Together, may we worship you freely, serve you willing,
and be truly your Church in all our diversity.
General resources around disability and inclusion
Diocese of Oxford Disability Conference 2021
A wealth of wisdom from disabled people and relevant organisations.
Disability Access Audit for Church Buildings
A document to download and use to assess your church building's accessibility.
Welcoming and Including Autistic People in our Churches and Communities
Guidelines produced for use in the Diocese of Oxford.
Children in church resource
This guide is for people with responsibility for children’s work in churches, and includes topics such as making people feel welcome, making people feel included and ideas for teaching and worship.
10 ways to belong
The Methodist Church, Count Everyone In, Urban Saints, and the Additional Needs Alliance, have collaborate to create a guide to help churches support children, young people and young adults with additional needs, and better enable everyone to belong in every church.
God on wheels: Disability Liberation and Spiritual Leadership
Interview with Rabbi Julia Watts Belser, Professor of Jewish Studies at Georgetown University
Ability Sunday video reflection
The Revd Katie Tupling reflects on Psalm 139, Ability Sunday, and her own faith and disability.
Celebration of different abilities service
Chester Diocese held a service online in 2021, in place of the usual service at the Cathedral, and the Revd Katie Tupling was one of the contributors.
Find out more
- Freedom – bringing the gift of a wheelchair or mobility aid and sharing the Gospel with disabled people in developing countries
- Friendship – blessing disabled people with Christian friends through being part of our groups, holidays and Retreats
- Faith – building our network of Roofbreakers and advocates through training and resources to ensure disabled people can belong and contribute
The Revd Katie Tupling
Disability advisor - part time
07442 762 998 (text/voice)