Disability Ministries Committee of the United Methodist Church

Bridge Builders

Local churches are encouraged to be active in disability ministries, realizing that ministering to and being ministered by those with disabilities is a two-way bridge. The Bridge Builder program of the North Alabama Conference recognizes churches that have taken steps to start or continue disability ministries and encourages others to begin the process.

The steps for a local church to be designated as a Bridge Builder are:

  • Designate a lay member of the congregation as Director or Chair of Disability Ministries.
  • Submit proof of having an active disability ministry, which includes:
    • having at least one accessible parking spot marked with appropriate sign;
    • list at least three things the church has done during the year to help those with disabilities (either directly or indirectly — for example, something all churches can do is to show that instead of noting in worship order materials that an asterisk means "the congregation stands," that the asterisk means " all who are able and wish to do so may stand.";
    • having a Disability Ministry Fund (however, there is no requirement for a set amount);
    • give to the District Disability Ministry Fund and the North Alabama Conference Disability Fund (again, there is no set amount);
    • actions such as having an accessible parking space can only be counted once — a church cannot submit the same exact list of such activities each year.
  • Show that the local church has had an annual Disability Awareness Sunday.
  • Show that the local church has completed an annual Accessibility Audit.

Churches meeting the above criteria will receive a certificate showing that they are Bridge Builders for the current year. Churches will receive a certificate every year that the above criteria are met.

Beginning with the 2012 Annual Conference, the District with the highest percentage of Bridge Builder Churches will be presented with a special award, the Bridge Building District of the Year. The award will be presented to the District Superintendent in appreciation of his/her leadership in the area of Disability Ministries.

To be considered for awards, information should be sent do the District Director of Disability Ministries or the Conference Disability Ministries Convener.

— May 2012