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Enabling All

News Flash! Enabling Churches is changing...

Enabling All Final

“Enabling ALL”? What’s that even mean? Let me explain!

There has been so much change over the last couple of years & no-one has been immune to the impact of COVID19. Working across the Diocese under the banner of Enabling Churches, we have learned a lot! Whilst it has been hard, we have continued to work with and learn from people living with disabilities in partnership with church leaders & PCCs to shape their church communities into places where people of all abilities know they are valued & enabled to belong, just as they are.

When our work began almost 4 years ago we assumed much of our work would be helping those wishing to adapt buildings to make them more accessible. Whilst this has been (& continues to be) rewarding, since the pandemic hit, what has been most exciting is our journey with PEOPLE!

COVID19 affected those with “pre-existing clinical vulnerabilities” the most - further isolating people from their communities.

But then changes we couldn’t have dreamed possible began to happen!

Churches started to get creative, using their buildings differently, using tech & thinking about how to share worship with the widest possible number of people! That’s when the penny dropped!

Our work is totally focused on changes that PEOPLE bring about & not (only) BUILDINGS! So we’ve changed our name (& become part of a new team at TCT)! We’ve changed our logo too (do you like it?!) to help make it clear that all our work is about how each person with their unique gifts & experiences can work to empower & value one another to create far healthier “Bodies of Christ” as church communities for ALL.

(If you haven’t already) we’d love you to join us!

A great place to start is by signing up for our NEW ***HOT OFF THE PRESS***

ENABLING ALL CERTIFICATES scheme - where you’ll receive FREE, ongoing support, training & encouragement as part of a growing network of others who are also committed to Enabling All, building church communities with people of all abilities.

https://www.lichfield.anglican.org/transforming-communities/enabling-all/enabling-all--enabling-all-awards.php

Find out more about this and all our work by getting in touch:......

Enabling.Church@lichfield.anglican.org

Building a network!

Are you one of these 1 in 6 people with a lived experience of a disability?

The Enabling All team would love you to join their network. They'lll be offering regular online meetings to help people share their experiences and build relationships with others from around the diocese.

Who do we think we are? Our first Enabling All “guest blog” from Bishop Michael

No longer Enabling Church but Enabling ALL…

Written by +Lichfield

A reflection on Psalm 73

I know that many of you know what it’s like when a verse from scripture strikes you unexpectedly with special force. That happened suddenly to me early this morning, as I happened to be reading Psalm 73. The third and fourth verses of that psalm say of ‘the arrogant’:

They have no pain; their bodies are sleek and sound.

They are not in trouble as others are; they are not plagued like other people.

This is a cry of pain and anger from somebody who clearly knows suffering in their life, and we can take it that that suffering is etched onto the pain and struggles of the psalmist’s body as well as their soul. The words struck home with particular intensity for me because just two days earlier I had been in a deep and heartfelt conversation about the experience of physical or emotional pain which accompanies being “dis-abled” within the life of the church, and how we try to deal with that. We agreed that, all too often, we divide God’s people into two groups: ‘non-disabled’ and ‘disabled’, ‘us’ and ‘them’; and – if we are feeling generous – we then ask what ‘we’ can do for ‘them’. The psalmist, according to this kind of division, would be ‘one of them’. So it is important to realise that it is from his (probably – just possibly her) position of suffering that the quest for divine truth comes.

When the truth is revealed, in verse 17, it is a truth about the horizon which will constrict and reduce us all at some point (in the failing of our flesh & hearts, v.21) as we travel through life:

I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.

This revelation comes to the writer ‘in the sanctuary of God’. In other words, it is in the experience of worship that there comes the realisation that even the most apparently secure and well-founded life is fragile and vulnerable.

What a lesson there is here for the way we see “ability” in the Church. We are ALL called together into the sanctuary of God - WITH our failing “flesh & hearts”. As we worship together, we realise that there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. We belong to one another; we all have different fragilities; and as we journey together to the heavenly city through our constantly changing lives, we will experience those with different intensities at different steps on the way; but we can always learn from, support and encourage one another as companions who share in the one Body of Christ which is given as food for our journey.

In the conversation I was part of, we decided that a better way to express this was to speak of ‘Enabling All’ in mutuality and shared respect. When we catch a vision like that, we begin to see how this area of our church life is not just a matter of finding technical fixes to solve problems of accessibility. Rather, it points us to the heart of who we are in our shared life before God; and it opens up for us an authentic way of telling the good news, as the final verse Psalm 73 makes clear:

I have made the LORD God my refuge, to tell of all your works.

I hope and pray that a shared commitment to ‘Enabling All’ can deepen and enrich our discipleship, vocation and evangelism in the Diocese of Lichfield in the years to come.

Bishop Michael

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Why not join others who are learning & sharing new ways to Enable All in our church communities?

Find out more about Enabling All Awards: practical advice & support to adapt & improve accessibility of worship here

Sign up to join the Enabling All network : Enabling.Church@lichfield.anglican.org

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Coming soon…

Are you involved in preparing & leading worship? Interested in exploring some theology of worship (especially in a hybrid church!) with others?

Sign up to let us know you’d like to join our webinars (Zoom. Dates tbc) where we will explore liturgy, embodying worship via Zoom & more!

How can we continue to maintain that our Churches are a place of welcome for all, especially for people living with a disability?

Over the pandemic, many churches have managed to reach out to a wider community with the introduction of online worship, but as we get back to a new normal and Church doors open, is your Church as inclusive as it can be?

How can we continue to maintain that our Churches are a place of welcome for all?

1 in 6 people (at least!) live with some kind of physical or mental impairment. Jesus spent lots of his time and energy showing us that no-one is excluded from knowing and experiencing the love of God.

God's story is often most vividly told to us by and through the lives of those who are commonly overlooked by the 'mainstream'.

If you would like to hear more about our work and how we can help you make your Church more accessible please do not hesitate to contact us Enabling.Church@lichfield.anglican.org - we’d would love to hear from you!

A plea to maintain online worship, to ensure Church is accessible for all

Revds Steve Jones and Zoe Heming, disability advisers for Birmingham and Lichfield Dioceses, discuss how the mass uptake of online worship has been a great blessing for many who can't get to church, and make a plea for parishes to not abandon online as in-the-building worship becomes less restricted.

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Rev Zoe Hemming - Enabling Church Advisor
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Zoe Corney - Enabling Church