Welcome & Belonging

Is there a single church that does not consider itself to be ‘friendly’ and ‘welcoming’? Yet this may not always be true for everyone who comes. Whether physically, or in any other way, disabled, a first-time visitor may well encounter difficult steps, heavy or narrow doors, awkward acoustics – the list goes on – right through to negative stereotyping, unhelpful assumptions, even subtle signs that ‘we don’t really want your ‘sort’ here.

In respect of all 9 of the 'protected characteristics' of the 2010 Equality Act, our 'Welcome and Belonging' officer is here to help you to incarnate, so far as is practically possible, the spirit of inclusion which says to the stranger, the widow, and the orphan, "We were expecting you; come in, sit down, and eat."

We will strive to help you to provide excellent physical resources such as ramps, accessible toilets and hearing loops, as well as encouraging parishes to look at simple markings and consistent flooring to ensure that all people are able comfortably and safely to navigate church buildings. So, if you would like to have an audit of accessibility, discuss any issues and current thinking on these matters, feel free to contact Alec Mitchell, our Welcome and Belonging Officer.

We also have a Welcome and Belonging Action Group to develop ideas and make these become reality. If you would like to be involved in this group then again please contact Alec.

The full report of the diocesan 'Welcome and Belonging' disability seminar held during the summer of 2013 is now available to view and download. A summary report is also available.