Resolution #10: Disability Sensitivity and Anti-Ableism Training
Secretary of the Convention
October 25th, 2021
The Convention declined to take action on this resolution on October 23rd, 2021.
Resolved, That the 172nd Convention of the Diocese of California directs the Task Force on Disability and Deaf Access, coordinating with diocesan training staff to the extent requested by the Bishop, to develop a training program on disability sensitivity and anti-ableism, with the intent that when complete it shall be provided and periodically required for all Diocesan and congregational hiring personnel; and
Resolved, That this Convention requests that its diocesan deputation submit a similar resolution calling on The Episcopal Church, at its 80th General Convention, and by resolution or otherwise, to promptly develop and make available effective, comprehensive, and Church-wide anti-ableism and disability sensitivity training programs.
The Episcopal Church has for decades made commitments to welcome and include disabled and Deaf people (via General Convention 2018-D097, 2018-D090, 2015-D043, 2009-D032 and 1985-A087). Notwithstanding these commitments, disabled and Deaf people are one part of the Beloved Community who continue to be excluded in 2021 from many aspects of congregational life and discriminated against and/or rejected in hiring, promotion, postulancy, Holy Orders, and ordination.
The Church of England has created an exemplary model for equity, inclusion, and welcoming disabled and Deaf people in all aspects of Church life.
The 171st Convention of the Diocese of California established the Task Force on Disability and Deaf Access, which is working to create a Best Practices Guide for voluntary physical and programmatic accessibility improvements in diocesan congregations and institutions. Nonetheless, permanent reduction in discrimination requires us to confront internal and unconscious biases regarding disability and Deafness, learn about and understand systemic ableism and audism, and recognize the impact of bias, systemic ableism, and stereotypes within the employment and leadership of our Church.
Disabled and Deaf people make up roughly 20 percent of any population, per most counts prior to 2020. Additionally, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of people have acquired a disability of one kind or another, meaning the percentage of disabled and Deaf people in America may now be higher than before.
In living into our Baptismal Covenant, and as we go about ensuring that our clergy and lay leaders reflect the body of the Church, it is imperative that we consciously and affirmatively address the lack of disabled and Deaf clergy and lay leaders and voices. Requiring periodic anti-ableism and disability sensitivity training for lay and clergy leaders will help to eliminate additional barriers for disabled and Deaf people who wish to answer a call to Holy Orders or otherwise serve in leadership roles within our diocese and our Church.
The San Francisco Deanery
St. Mark’s, Berkeley