It’s a way to encourage churches to focus on the abilities of disabled people and also gives you a moment to reflect on whether your church could be more caring and welcoming to disabled people, their families and care workers.
Churches and communities are richer when everyone is taking part and Ability Sunday is a church’s opportunity to celebrate the gifts of disabled people.
Livability provides an information pack for how to run Ability Sunday at your church, which features a sermon outline, drama sketch and supporting notes – based on a Biblical theme.
There are all sorts of reasons to run Ability Sunday. It will hopefully inspire and motivate your church to:
- Create places of welcome: Ability Sunday is where disabled people are welcomed and enabled to express themselves and build confidence, offering opportunities for friendship and communal experience.
- Celebrate gifts: Ability Sunday is a day when churches rejoice in the crucial contribution that disabled people make to the life of the church and start the journey to include disabled people in the worship, work and life of the church.
- Connect with community: Inclusion and community is on the heart of every church. Beyond the day of Ability Sunday, participant churches can access ongoing training and resources to support disabled and vulnerable people get more connected with their local community.
Since the launch, somewhere in the order of 600 Ability Sunday church services have been registered across the UK and many churches have spoken of the blessings brought by running an Ability Sunday service.
This year Ability Sunday is focusing particularly towards engaging churches in a Diocese where Livability supports disabled people in its care services.
The date of Ability Sunday is Sunday 8 September 2019 but many churches hold this service at varying times in the year, and many churches who have previously taken part make it a quarterly event.
The theme for Ability Sunday this year, following the lectionary reading, gives us the opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful psalms, Psalm 139. Written for Ability Sunday, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, offers reflections on what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God who knew us in our mother’s womb, who formed the way we think and feel.
When so many struggle with very human issues, anxiety, poor mental health, low self-esteem, disability, it is good to reflect in the way we welcome people to our churches and the way in which we value their unique God-given gifts and abilities.
Running an Ability Sunday church service doesn’t need a lot of time and effort in preparation. In the lead up to Ability Sunday Livability will provide leaders with free resources, a film, reflections for a sermon, prayers on the theme, stories of how disabled people have used their gifts for the benefit of the church and local community. We will endeavour to include stories of people we support who live in your diocese.
Follow this link to see Psalm 139 read by people in Livability services can be shown in place of the Bible reading.
You can find out more information about Ability Sunday and register to get your free Ability Sunday pack by visiting their website Livability.org.uk/AbilitySunday
‘More than Welcome’
If churches are nervous about engaging disabled people, ‘More Than Welcome’ is a new resource from Livability to guide a church in how to deepen relationships with disabled people and build a church where everyone belongs. Based on the idea of a journey – the resource will help a church go through three important stages, from a place of welcome, to inclusion, to participation.