E-seminar: Our Doors Are Open. Welcoming People with Disabilities at Places of Worship
SEM66 - Seminar in Theology
4th October - 29th November 2021
presented by David H. Pereyra
Course code: SEM66Professor: Dr. David H. Pereyra
About 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. Many are not having their needs met because of barriers to participation in rituals, worship and faith community activities at their places of worship. To truly empower people with disabilities to become agents of positive change in their local communities, we recognize that everyone has a role to play. Our Doors Are Open seminar helps all faith communities to understand how to open their mind, hearts, and doors to people with all kinds of abilities. Traditionally, faith communities position people with disabilities as recipients of care and not as givers. Most faith communities do not have good representation of people with disabilities throughout their activities despite a desire to be open and inclusive. This disparity is often the result of lack of understanding of how to think about disability differently. In this seminar, students will learn the social model of disability which positions disability as a function of exclusively designed environments rather than a lack of ability. Our Doors Are Open Seminar will guide students in how to see their activities and environments through an inclusive lens as well as how to take actions to improve inclusion and achieve the welcoming goals of congregations.
- Present simple and creative ideas to help increase inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities in worship services, events and all activities of a community.
- Introduce a series of clear and straightforward suggestions in order to promote inclusive thinking in your community.
- Share current approaches to understanding and explaining accessibility and inclusion.
- Reflect critically that people with disabilities should be able to enjoy their spiritual beliefs and actively participate alongside other members of their faith communities.
- Learn how to truly empower people with disabilities to become agents of positive change in their local communities, by recognizing that everyone has a role to play.
- Understand how to help all faith communities to understand how to open their mind, hearts, and doors to people with all kinds of abilities through development of resources that support the Guide for Accessible Congregations.
Students will be:
- Able to identify unmet needs for people with disabilities within faith-based communities.
- Able to understand how a faith community can become more accessible.
- Able to help people with disabilities be able to practice their spiritual beliefs and actively participate alongside other members of their faith communities.
- Able to understand how inclusive design thinking can remove barriers to inclusion.
- In the first three sections, students will be asked to carry out or plan specific activities from the Guide for Accessible Congregations within their faith communities and to report on it in written format (e.g. essay, how to guide, infographic) that demonstrates an understanding of the reading or key concepts.
- Students will discuss topics related to the assignment including challenges or questions that they may have about how to implement the activity within their faith community.
- In the final section, students will create a pastoral activity or resource based on a new activity or an activity from sections1-3, that can be freely shared by Our Doors are Open Project as an open education resource under a creative commons license with attribution to the student author.