First steps towards a model accessible Church taken …
Thankful for the intention of the Arcot Lutheran Church leadership Bishop Samuel Kennady, and Rev Dr Joshua Peter, and the provision of resources by the Carmel congregation of the ALC in Thiruvannamalai to build an accessible church at their Lebanon campus of ALC in Thiruvannamalai.
We are grateful for the opportunity for Engage Disability India along with one of ED network partners NCCI – IDEA, and it’s General Secretary Rev Asir Ebenezer, to network with TARA ( Team for Accessibility & Reasonable Accommodation) through one of it’s architects, to provide the expertise for architectural accessibility guidance necessary to make the church accessible from the start.
We were given time and space to share with the Church leadership team who will engine this project not only about physical accessibility but also about attitudinal barriers and theological barriers in our congregations, and the need to work on these simultaneously.
Along with Mr Immanuvel Dhaya, the Secretary for the Disability Ministries of the Arcot Lutheran Church and Mr. Vinoth, a friend with hearing impairment and a member of the ALC – both of whom had participated in the Engage Disability National Conference 2023, and the Senior Engineer who will be leading the construction, we also had the opportunity to audit the accessibility of an existing ALC church in Thiruvannamalai to explain the features that could be incorporated in the upcoming church construction to make the church structure fully accessible.
May we have more Churches who are intentional about architectural accessibility and disability inclusion as we build structures related to the Church and its ministries. Engage Disability thanks Rev Charles, Mr Immanuvel Dhaya, Rev Ananth Jeevan, Mr Vinod, Ms Dhanalakshmi, Mr Lawrence and all the others in the team at ALC who made this a meaningful and fruitful meeting.
Under God, we trust this endeavour will go a long way in the extension of the horizons of disability inclusion in Churches in India.
You can read a short report in Tamil about this visit in the ALC Facebook page as well.