The United Methodist Task Force on Disability Ministries

picture of United Methodist Book of Resolutions

The Book of Resolutions contains the social policies adopted by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. The following are summaries of the sections that deal with disability. If you know of other statements that should be included, please use the Contact Us form and we will gladly include them.

3001: Accessibility Grants for Churches
$500 grants set aside; administered by General Board of Global Ministries

3002: Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act for Employers
All UM churches are to comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which outlaws discrimination and requires reasonable accommodation.

3003: United Methodist Implementation of Americans with Disabilities Act
Affirms support of full implementation of the provisions of the ADA, and urges all congregations to implement and enforce ADA and all disability-related programs.

3004: Assisting Personal Mobility
Calls on all agencies and congregations to be generous with time and resources in approaching mobility needs in their community, and to "collaborate" with people and organizations seeking to enhance mobility.

3005: Strengthening Inclusivity of Individuals with Print Handicaps
Calls on UM Publishing House to address lack of accessible resources and limited curriculum available for people who have visual impairments.

3006: Care for People Who are Hard-of-Hearing
Beginning in 2004, requires the Commission on General Conference to budget for full funding of Professional American Sign Language Interpretation for delegates and nondelegates to General Conference.

3007: Closed Captioning
Encourages producers of videos by any United Methodist agency to include closed captioning.

3008: Communications Access for People Who Have Hearing and Sight Impairment.
Calls on the church to increase awareness and use of accessible communication technology.

3009: The Church and Deaf Ministries
a plan for "Strengthening the Connection with the Greater Deaf Community for the New Century.".;

3262: Housing in the USA
Notes that the Section 202 housing program is one of the few "bright spots" in housing for older and disabled adults. Because this section is restricted to non-profit organizations, most of which are religious, it is a "direct ministry opportunity."

3304: The Church and People with Mental, Physical, and/or Psychological Disabilities
Pledges church to renew and increase commitment to the development of a barrier-free society, especially in the many facilities of the church and parsonages.
Approval for funding or construction requires access in all areas of a church building and outside approaches.
All meetings of The United Methodist Church beyond the local church are to be accessible to people with disabilities.
Churches are asked to conduct an audit of facilities to discover barriers to full participation and take steps to remove those barriers.
Pledge to sensitize and train pastors to the needs of those who have a disability, to lead local churches in studies, to work cooperatively with other denominations, and to designate an Access Sunday each year.
Pledge to provide resources at all levels of the church for various disabilities. Recommends that all curriculum be designed for adaptation to needs of people with disabilities, and that it portray people with disabilities as leaders in church in society.
Includes the concerns and interests of people with disabilities in affirmative action. Urges GBHEM to monitor conference boards of ordained ministry so that people with disabilities are given equal treatment. Urges schools and seminaries to provide specialized instruction in awareness and appreciation of gifts, needs, and interests of people with disabilities.
Each annual conference is to implement methods of recruiting, sensitizing, and training persons as advocates to work with and on behalf of persons with disabilities.
Similar admonishments to speak out in society, including rights to jobs, transportation, housing, and education.
General Church funds are to be used only on projects that meet accessibility standards. Congregations using their own funds are encouraged to make similar provisions for accessibility. Local churches are urged to adapt existing facilities.

8014: This Holy Mystery
No one is to be turned away from Communion because of physical, mental, development, or other disability, and specifically includes "any other condition that might limit his or her understanding or hinder his or reception of the sacrament."
Divine grace is the essence of the sacraments, and while we may not be able to understand how it works in those of different or limited understanding, we believe that it is sufficient.
Churches and pastors need to plan spaces for physical access to communion and to providing assistance that maintain dignity and worth of the persons who need such accommodation.
When worship spaces are constructed or renovated, attention needs to be given to providing physical access to the Communion Table for all.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church—2008. Copyright ©2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.