At Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, we are committed to making a fully inclusive space for all persons, regardless of physical, mental, or developmental difference.
As part of our ten year vision, Holy Spirit intends to open an inclusive school for children with disabilities. More than that, we want our parish to be a place of intentional welcome. All of our services and events are open to anyone who would like to participate and we are happy to figure out ways to make events that are not inclusive for you or your child’s particular needs become so. Part of becoming and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is affirming Jesus’ radical inclusion in our parish life.
As a community, we have children with absent eyes, absent external ears, tracheostomies, g-buttons, sensory differences, developmental differences, ambulatory differences, autism, and many diverse constellations of particular expressions of bodies. As a parish, we embrace what philosopher Elizabeth Barnes has termed the “mere-difference” view of disability, in which we recognize that disability is a disadvantage often, but not exclusively, because of societal construction and would become less so if society were fully accommodating of disabled bodies.
It’s a long journey and hard road to fully embrace this view as a parish when it comes to our space and accommodation, but we are committed. Our Phase I construction ushered in ADA compliant bathrooms, ramp access for the main entrance, wide doors with automatic opening functionality, and larger spaces for simplified navigation in a wheelchair or other ambulatory aid. Our Phase II construction, which will include the development of the school structure, will focus on being completely ADA compliant.
In our Narthex, or what you might call a lobby, you will find Activity Bags that include items for Readers, Pre-Readers, and Sensory Seekers for use during the service or any church activity.
You will also find auditory devices for help hearing the microphone feed during the service and some of our members are fluent in ASL. We are looking to hire aids that have experience in working with children with disabilities to be on staff during Sunday School and in our nursery. We have opened a disability inclusive playground for younger children and will open one for older children in the future.
But every need is different. We want to make our space welcome to everyone, especially to you and to your family. To that end, we encourage everyone who needs accommodation in order to feel fully included to set up a Disability Inclusion Plan conversation with our Associate Rector, The Rev. Preston Yancey.
The Disability Inclusive Plan is a way to discuss what is currently available and what we might be able to offer in the future in order to make our church as welcome to you and to your family as possible. It is our commitment to follow the example of Jesus in everything we do. Especially in our efforts to make tables for one another.