News Provincial Standing Committee

PSC report gives advice to parishes on including people with disabilities

Parishes are being encouraged to include people living with disability fully in the lives of their congregations, for example by welcoming those who use wheelchairs by providing ramps to enable them to access churches easily.

Both this year’s meeting of the Provincial Standing Committee and the September meeting of the Synod of Bishops heard reports from the Revd Dr Andrew Warmback of the Diocese of Natal, who was asked by the Archbishop to convene a Disability Advisory Group after the last Provincial Synod.

The Synod committed ACSA “to becoming a fully accessible church to people with disabilities, creating an environment in which all members can offer their gifts and talents in the life, leadership and service of the church.”

The Advisory Group’s report to PSC 2022 appears below, and the 2021 Provincial Synod resolution below that.

Resolution approved at Provincial Synod 2021


This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

  1. Within our churches there is a significant number of people who have physical, emotional, sensory, developmental and intellectual disabilities; some disabilities being visible and some not;
  2. Many of us will experience disability at some stage in our lives;

Acknowledging that:

2.1. People with disabilities often experience marginalisation due to discriminatory social attitudes and practices;

2.2. Physical and communication barriers, such as steps to the altar and lack of large print prayer books as well as attitudinal barriers, can prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in church;

Affirming that:

  1. Everyone is made in God’s image and has inherent dignity and worth and is tobe equally respected;
  2. Disability is part of the diversity of humankind created by God, and we all need the insights of those who have experience of disability in fully understanding the nature of God and our Christian faith;
  3. Jesus sought out people with disabilities and challenged oppressive and dehumanising systems and structures that led to their stigmatisation and marginalisation in society;
  4. The Body of Christ has many members and to be whole all must be welcomed and included regardless of level of ability;

Resolves to:

  1. Commit to becoming a fully accessible church to people with disabilities, creating an environment in which all members can offer their gifts and talents in the life, leadership and service of the church;
  2. Respectfully request the Archbishop to appoint a Disability Advisory Group, led by and comprising mostly people with disabilities, whose responsibilities would include the raising of awareness about issues of disability and engaging in educational and advocacy work, including in the following ways within ACSA:

2.1. In collaboration with the South African Anglican Theological Commission (SAATC) to work on adopting a Theology of Disability, which could assist in theological education and formation;

2.2. Offer support to Provincial and Diocesan guilds, groups, institutions and ministries to assist them with the full participation of people with disabilities within their organisations, events and services;

2.3. Liaise with those engaged in Gender work as well as those responsible for safeguarding to highlight the link between disability and gender-based violence;

2.4. Assist the Liturgical Committee in their revision of the Prayer Book by the needs of those with disabilities in respect of services and sacraments, and providing additional resources for celebrating “People with disabilities” as contained in our Lectionary;

2.5. Work with the Canon Law Council in respect of amendments that may need to be made to the Constitution and Canons in the light of this motion;

2.6. Advocate that the governments in the Province of ACSA to enact legislation and policies that ensure the same rights for people with disabilities that are guaranteed to all other people in our societies;

  1. Encourage all Dioceses to pass motions similar to this one.