Help Your Place of Worship Include People with Mental Retardation
Congregations can welcome people with mental retardation and other disabilities into their place of worship by:
- Including people with a disability in the choir; recognize and use everyone’s gifts.
- Giving a ride or offer support to a family in your congregation with a member who has a disability.
- Making your building accessible.
Sometimes people mean well but are uncomfortable meeting and talking with people with disabilities. The Memphis Center for Independent Living has a list of Disability Etiquette Tips which might be helpful to share with your congregation.
National Organization on Disabilities Religion & Disability Program
The Religion and Disability Program, founded in 1989, works with local congregations, national denominational groups and seminaries to remove barriers of architecture, communications and attitudes that prevent people with disabilities from full and active religious participation. For more information on the Religion & Disability Program visit their fact sheet.
Accessible Congregations Campaign
Philadelphia Area Participating Congregations
The Accessible Congregations Campaign is sponsored by the National Organizations on Disability. This campaign seeks to gain the commitment of congregations of all faiths to include people with all types of disabilities as full and active participants. An Accessible Congregation acknowledges that it has barriers and makes the commitment to removing them and to welcoming people with disabilities into a full life of faith. The theme of the campaign is "Access: It Begins in the Heart". For information on Philadelphia:
Find area congregations which are participating in the Accessible Congregations 2000 campaign.
How Welcoming is your Congregation?
Conduct a self-assessment of your congregation's efforts to ensure the full participation of people with disabilities and older adults.
A series of publications to help congregations welcome people with disabilities. All of the publications may be ordered online.
That All May Worship Network of Greater Philadelphia
We promote and support total inclusion. We advocate removal of all barriers including Architectural, Sensory, Communication and Attitudinal, for full participation of people with disAbilities in local congregations and the large community of faith in:
Philadelphia’s Interfaith Network for people committed to building spiritual communities with people with disAbilities. Mission Statement. We, as an interfaith network in the Greater Philadelphia area, believe that all people with and without disAbilities, are spiritual beings and have gifts to share.
Local Congregations with Disability Ministries
A list of local congregations which have programs and services for individuals with disabilities.
Gam Yahad (All Together)
Jewish holiday programs for adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Offered at various area synagogues at holiday times. For information call Jewish Family and Childrens’ Services at (215) 673-0100, ext. 123.
National Organizations which promote Accessibility to Places of Worship
A list of sites which provides information and ideas about improving the accessibility of people with disabilities to religious organizations.