Disability & Accessibility
Unitarian Universalists (UU) are committed to welcoming and affirming people of all abilities.
Nearly 50 million people (1 in 5 of the U.S. population) in the United States have a disability—visible or invisible, public or private. For everyone, whether having a disability or not, the environment in which we live, learn, play, sing, work, meditate, reflect, and pray must feel welcoming in order for everyone to grow and thrive.
Looking for an accessible congregation in your area? Our online directory lists congregations that are wheelchair accessible or have assisted listening devices. If there are other considerations that would enable or enhance your participation, please contact a congregation near you with your specific needs.
Ways to Make Your Congregation More Accessible
- Guidelines for Unitarian Universalist Congregations (PDF, 31 pages)
This document is a proposed accessibility policy addressing the inclusion of all people (whatever their ability may be) in activities and physical accessibility.
- That All May Worship (PDF)
- A Brief Guide to Accessibility (PDF)
- Accessibility Handbook (PDF, 78 pages)
A comprehensive accessibility resource for congregations, developed in partnership with the United Methodist Church. Chapters include: introduction and information about specific disabilities and etiquette; an accessibility audit of a church’s building, grounds, etc. based on ADA guidelines; agencies/organizations, manufacturers, and print/online resources around accessibility; and a glossary.
- Journey Towards Wholeness
Equual Access: A UUA Affinity Organization
Equual Access promotes equality and access for Unitarian Universalists with disabilities.
Read their reflection paper "Mental Health Issues and Recommendations" (PDF, 30 pages).
Resources for Children
- Welcoming Children with Special Needs: A Guidebook for Faith Communities, (PDF, 302 pages) Sally Patton (2004), Boston, MA, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
An empowering resource for accepting special needs children into congregations. Includes information on common physical, mental and emotional disabilities and disorders, plus teacher training guidelines and strategies and techniques for inclusion.
- Teachable Moments (PDF, 12 pages), Devorah Greenstein and Sofia Betancourt (2005), Identity-based Ministries Staff Group, UUA.
An assortment of activity sheets to begin in-depth conversations about our first principle.
- Removing Barriers (PDF, 68 pages): Planning Meetings That Are Accessible to All Participants, North Carolina Office on Disability and Health (2005), Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina.
Basic guidelines and strategies to help organizations make their meetings accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities. The guide includes illustrations and a checklist to aid meeting planners in creating an inclusive event.
- Accessible Faith (PDF, 56 pages): A Technical Guide for Accessibility in Houses of Worship, Elizabeth Patterson and Neal Vogel (2004), Retirement Research Foundation, Chicago, IL.
A guide for congregations interested in enhancing accessibility for people with disabilities. Information includes ways to navigate building-related code requirements; identify user-friendly design solutions; provide technical guidance.
- Accessibility Touchstones (PDF, 17 pages): Eight Useful Resources for Your Congregation’s Accessibility Journey, Devorah Greenstein, Identity-based Ministries Staff Group, UUA.
Accessibility is a journey, and these eight brief resources, developed in collaboration with UUs with disabilities, include all sorts of information to help a congregation as it moves along the path to becoming an inclusive congregation.
- Making Your Website Accessible
- Sample Service Dog Policy
Subscribe to the Access-L Email List, An open forum to meet other people with and without disabilities who are interested in matters relating to accessibility, ableism, and ability/disability.