Our Doors are Open: an Accessible Welcome for People with Disabilities in Places of Worship

Hi, friends,

I hope you’re all well! Mike Walker here. I wanted to let you all know of a fantastic new opportunity to deepen communion with people with disabilities in your congregations and communities.

I’m the primary researcher on a wonderful project called Our Doors are Open: an Accessible Welcome for People with Disabilities in Places of Worship, at / through the Inclusive Design Research Centre of OCAD University. Roughly speaking, OCAD is on Queen West in Toronto; I work remotely.

My supervisors and I, at OCAD, are attempting to achieve a shift in the way that the individuals who visit and use religious complexes for events and activities think about accessibility, so as to create a culture of inclusion in congregational communities. We want to do that through resources, activities, and workshops that build empathy and understanding, provide practical advice on approaching accessibility, and create a welcoming experience for diverse individuals.

In particular, the primary part of the grant we’ve received, for me, is facilitating ten to fifteen webinars with interested churches. Using these hour-long webinars — for the low, low cost of free — we’ll encourage organizations to initiate practices that bring accessibility and inclusion into their planning processes. Moreover, we’ll help folks to develop inclusive online best practices for their congregations, and support inclusive cultures in worship-services and online and in-person gatherings.

In the hour-long workshop, we’ll introduce interested churches to our concept of “inclusive thinking,” use our Brief Accessibility Checklist to assess both what they’re already doing well in terms of hospitality and to improve what they can, and give folks strategies to deepen their welcome of believers with disabilities.

Our workshops are now available! Please join us. You can find out more at the Our Doors are Open website.

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