Added on 22/09/2010
Disability Awareness Sunday
The third Sunday in November – 21 November 2010 - has been designated by the Archbishop of Armagh as Disability Awareness Sunday in the Church of Ireland.
The Church of Ireland recognises that within society disability is a significant issue and that inclusivity as a basic Christian principle should be embraced by everyone. Statistics for Northern Ireland as produced by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) published in 2007 show the following:
21% of adults in Northern Ireland have at least one disability
6% of children are affected by a disability
60% of those aged 65 and above have a disability
Across Ireland as a whole there should be no significant variation to the above statistics on physical disability.
With regard to Learning Disability, Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland provide support to 9,500 people. In the same period almost 17,000 people were diagnosed with a mental illness.
As a Christian Church we recognise the need to be inclusive. All should be welcomed. Legislation is an issue. We as a church should be aware of and operate within the relevant legislative frameworks. However, the existence of legislation should not be the driver for action.
Disability Awareness Sunday is an annual event in the Church of Ireland. The purpose of the day is to help churches focus on disability not just for one day but for that day to lead to ongoing inclusion of people with disabilities in the life of the Church.
The day will provide churches with an opportunity to have people with disabilities take part in the services and through this and other ways to raise the awareness of disability among the church community in general.
Resources for parishes to use on the Sunday designated as Disability Awareness Sunday - and at other times throughout the year - are available on this website (see below).
This designated Sunday should be a celebration of our ministry in disability and it should be a time to stop and think how that ministry can be improved in the coming year.
95% of us will experience a disability at some time in our lives. That is nearly all of us. Disability awareness is about all of us. Disabled people are part of earthly families. We want to make sure that we make them part of the family of this church and the family of God.
Disability Awareness Sunday Resources
To download a bookmark of Beatitudes for those who encounter disabled people, please click here.
To download some prayers for use on Disability Awareness Sunday or other occasions, please click here.
To download a sample sermon for Disability Awareness Sunday, please click here.
You may also wish to visit: www.throughtheroof.org