‘More Than Welcome’ is Livability’s new resource to help your church deepen relationships with disabled people, and build a church where everyone belongs.
Based on the idea of a journey – the resource will help your church go through three important stages, from a place of welcome, to inclusion, to participation. Not just enabling people to enter church buildings, but ensuring that their gifts, talents and experiences are expressed.
Throughout the Bible, the practice of ‘welcome’ has been a mark of God’s people. From Abraham and Sarah’s welcoming of the three visitors; Lot’s welcome of angels in Sodom; or Mary and Martha’s welcome of Jesus, the hospitality and significance of welcome is a consistent Biblical theme.
When we read Biblical accounts of welcome, we see that welcome is all about having a deep recognition of the shared humanity of a guest. Guests are both other, and us. And we must also recognise that at any moment in our lives, we may be the visitor – and someone else may be the host.
This recognition of shared basic needs and identity, is particularly important when we consider disability. Every disabled person has many stories of how they have been treated as different, as less important, or even as non-human. By simply welcoming, we are acknowledging that fundamental truth that we are all important because we are all God’s people.
Wherever your church is on the journey at the moment, we hope that this resource is both an encouragement and an inspiration. Welcome is only the beginning of the journey. We encourage you to recognise the positive contributions that can be made at each stage, and also consider the next steps you can take.