Creating Welcoming Churches


Welcoming Churchs front coverwebOver the last 12 months or so we have been working on putting together a book and on-line resources to help churches be disability friendly. This has now been launched and is available for purchase.  For information email info@dsfnetwork.org

For a hard copy booklet the cost is $15 including postage.  Payment can be by cheque made out to "DSF Network" and posted to :
DSF Network Treasurer
37 William Street
Lower Hutt 5013

or paid directly into our KiwiBank account 38-9002-0281732-00 and send us an email with your postal address.

We are keen to ensure Creating Welcoming Churches is available in alternative accessible formats. We are working towards this in 2015.


Creating Welcoming Churches is 44pp. It includes:

•  a handy accessibility checklist – see how accessible your church is to people with a wide range of impairments (takes less than an hour)

•  enabling attitudes: practical pointers on how best to communicate with people with different impairments and what makes a good physical, auditory and visual environment

•  a theology of accessibility

•  short quotes from disabled people about their church experience

•  stories of churches who have become more accessible and inclusive

•  practical resources available to parishes and faith communities

•  challenges to go deeper by encouraging and celebrating the skills and attributes of disabled people.


Sample from the contents page:

Part I: What welcoming means

Abundant life for all   

A theology of accessibility     

Information, attitude, action 

A handy accessibility checklist  

Part II: Enabling churches – church stories

Reflections on ministry – gifts and challenges          

Being familiar with mental health issues      

Support for the hearing impaired     

Reaching out to Deaf parishioners    

Church culture must be integrated into other cultures        

Making sincerity pay dividends         

Accessible and attractive       

Renovating an older church  

The unobtrusive bannister!    

Lively services where all participate 

Contributing just like anyone else

Part III: Going deeper – next steps  

Encouraging leadership         

Questions for group reflection          

Disability Sunday – a unique opportunity

Disproportioned Cross

Part IV: Resources    

Websites, books and libraries

Disability organisations         

The Disability, Spirituality and Faith Network





Attitudes to disability need to change

Disabled people still experience serious barriers that prevent them from fully participating in society and feeling accepted, according to two new reports. Based on interviews with disabled people, the reports share examples where people feel their human rights have not been respected. As well as sharing their experiences, the disabled people interviewed called for a change in attitudes to disability, greater awareness throughout society and a more accessible New Zealand for all.

The first report, Disability Rights in Aotearoa New Zealand: Participation and Poverty, highlights barriers that can prevent disabled people from fully participating in society. Barriers are identified in many different areas of life including transport, public buildings, workplaces, technology, housing, cultural life and sport. The report also considers the impact of poverty on disabled people.

The second report is Disability Rights in Aotearoa New Zealand: Acceptance in Society. In this report, disabled people explain the impact of discrimination and other people’s attitudes. Many of the disabled people interviewed have felt judged by the general public because of their disability. They report that this makes them feel excluded and often stops them from participating in activities. Some complain of being seen as different, or requiring ‘extra’ rights, when they are only asking to have the same basic human rights as non-disabled people. The report suggests that disabled people in New Zealand are being treated in ways that would not be acceptable to non-disabled people.

The information collected in both reports will be used to monitor how well New Zealand is implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The reports are produced by a coalition of disabled people’s organisations – the Article 33 New Zealand Convention Coalition Monitoring Group. Article 33.3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that people with disabilities must be fully involved in monitoring the Convention.

The reports are available online at http://www.dpa.org.nz/page/130/NewZealandConventionCoalitionMonitoringGroup.html


For more information or to request copies of the reports please contact:
Jak Wild
Acting Projects Leader,
Article 33 New Zealand Convention Coalition Monitoring Group
020 591 329 53 (call or txt)

If requesting copies of the reports, please state the format that you require – audio, Braille, easy read, electronic text, large print or New Zealand Sign Language.

About the Article 33 New Zealand Convention Coalition Monitoring Group
The role of the Convention Coalition is to ensure that people with disabilities are involved in the monitoring of their rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention Coalition interviews people with disabilities about their human rights experiences to see how well the Convention is being implemented and if it is making a difference to the everyday lives of disabled people. The Convention Coalition aims to provide credible, robust information on the human rights situation for people with disabilities in New Zealand.


Our Aims & Objects

  • To encourage and promote dialogue within and between the faith and disability communities.
  • To provide a place for disability communities to explore spirituality
  • To advocate for disability issues within faith communities.
  • To engage in theological reflection on disability within Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • To promote discussion on ethical issues including those that affect human rights.
  • To encourage and promote programmes for, with and between Disability and Faith communities