2022 Resolution #1:
Disability Sensitivity Training

Secretary of the Convention

Last Update: September 26th, 2022


This proposed resolution has been reviewed by the Committee on Resolutions and is in its final form.  The committee intends to report it to the Convention for its consideration.

Resolved, That the 173rd Convention of the Diocese of California affirms the commitment of The Episcopal Church to full inclusion of disabled and Deaf people in all aspects of Church life;

​Resolved, That this Convention calls upon the Diocese of California, beginning January 1, 2024, to require prescribed training on disability sensitivity and anti-ableism to all clergy, members of the Commission on Ministry, and all lay staff in positions of hiring, to be completed within one year of being hired or appointed and to be repeated every three years thereafter;

Resolved, That congregations and diocesan staff report on completed or outstanding trainings in their annual audits to the Diocese;

​​Resolved, That this Convention reauthorizes the existing Task Force on Disability and Deaf Access and tasks it with developing a training program not to exceed 3 hours to be available at the 174th Convention of the Diocese of California; and

Resolved, That this Convention requests that its diocesan deputation submit a resolution to the 81st General Convention calling on The Episcopal Church to promptly make available effective, comprehensive, and Church-wide anti-ableism and disability sensitivity training programs for both lay and clergy leaders of the Church.


The Episcopal Church has, for many decades, made commitments to welcome and include disabled and Deaf people in Church life (via General Convention 2018-D0972018-D0902015-D0432009-D032 and 1985-A087). Notwithstanding these commitments, disabled and Deaf people are one part of the Beloved Community who continue to be excluded in 2022 from many aspects of congregational life and discriminated against and/or rejected in hiring, promotion, postulancy, Holy Orders, and ordination.

​By way of example and inspiration, the Church of England has created an exemplary model for equity, inclusion, and welcoming disabled and Deaf people in all aspects of Church life. Indeed, most dioceses of the Church of England have a Disability Officer on staff, and many resources for trainings and awareness from the parish level to the Church-wide level can be found here. The Church of England regularly holds disability sensitivity and awareness trainings in each diocese, and held a virtual Disability Conference in 2021 on disability inclusion and awareness.

Furthermore, in addition to resources from the Church of England, there are numerous disability and Deaf advocacy and service organizations throughout the Bay Area, available for collaboration in developing a disability sensitivity and anti-ableism training for the Diocese of California.

​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.

​​The Diocese of California requires anti-racism trainings and Safe Church trainings of most lay and clergy leaders. Permanent reduction in discrimination requires us to confront internal and unconscious biases about 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.

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.

Submitted by:

The Task Force on Disability and Deaf Access for the Episcopal Diocese of California
Jack Fagan, Chair, jackf@gracecathedral.org
Janet Christiansen, janetchristensen@sbcglobal.net
Bruce Morrow, bvmorrow6801@sbcglobal.net
Karma Quick-Panwala, karmamyatt@hotmail.com
Jan Robitscher, jbrobit@aol.com

​Endorsed by:

The Ven. Hailey McKeefry Delmas, Archdeacon
The Rev. Mary Carter Greene, Grace Cathedral San Francisco
Sarah Lawton, St. John the Evangelist San Francisco
The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley
The Rev. Jennifer Nelson, Co-chair, Commission on Ministry
The Rev. Cameron Partridge, St. Aidan’s San Francisco
The Rev. Beth Phillips, Christ Church Portola Valley and Woodside; Chair, Commission on Ministry
The Ven. Cn. Nina Pickerrell, Archdeacon
The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, Dean, Grace Cathedral
The Rev. Katherine Salinaro, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley
The Rev. Dcn. Margaret Trezevant


  1. Richard Edward Helmer

    On September 2, 2022, Malcolm Young commented:

    I’m so grateful to the Task Force for this important work! Thank you.

  2. Anthony Mei

    I am the Senior Warden at St Francis of Assisi in Novato. As the current Vice Hair of the National Special Needs & Disabilities Committee of the Boy Scouts of America, and former chair of that committee for 8 years, I heartily endorse and support the content and intent of this resolution. I also have been very involved in the creation and presentation of training classes to improve the awareness of the neuro-normal population of the special needs and challenges faced by 17% of the population. I also am the chair of the Special needs & Disabilities Committee in the Golden Gate Area Council. That council covers Alameda, Contra Costa. Solano, Napa, Lake and San Francisco counties.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *