Friday, August 2, 2013

Ableist barriers to worship at local church

At the invitation of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Pacific Northwest District, I took the Multicultural Ministries Sharing Project survey today.

Among options listed in question 63, “Please indicate whether you have experienced any of the following things in any UU congregation(s) or UU space(s),” I had to indicate truthfully that within the past 12 months (and specifically in the local UU congregation), I was:
  • Unable to participate fully in worship due to ability/disability.
  • Unable to participate fully in areas of congregational life and activity due to ability/disability.
  • Felt invisible because of an ability/disability, as though I did not exist.
  • Experienced microaggressions such as unintended slights and unconscious ableist or discriminatory language.
I felt it only fair to notify my local congregation that I felt isolated by “ableist” language and practices during its services.

Specifically, I felt marginalized by the requirement that people stand in a line to share their joys and concerns.

I walk with a cane and prolonged standing is difficult for me, which limits my ability to fully participate in this congregation’s services.

In my email, I emphasized, I am not attacking the congregation but instead am letting it know of an area for improvement. I believed the congregation would want to know about these barriers so that they can be corrected.

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