Written by Daniel Hazard
Delegates at General Synod 25 in Atlanta gave overwhelming approval for a resolution, "Called to wholeness in Christ: Becoming a church accessible to all," submitted by the Minnesota Conference.
The resolution calls on UCC Conferences, Associations, congregations, seminaries, campus ministries and colleges, camps, covenanted ministries and all other UCC organizations "to become accessible to all; to embody a philosophy of inclusion and interdependence; and to support and implement the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990."
The resolution reaffirms and strengthens a 1995 statement that had called the UCC to embrace the spirit of the ADA.
The Rev. David Denham, pastor of Bethel UCC in Arlington, Va., and UCC Disabilities Ministries consultant, says UCCDM hopes — with the passage of this resolution — that the whole UCC will begin to take more seriously its "Accessible to All" (A2A) commitments, just as it has its Open and Affirming (ONA) and Multiracial, Multicultural (M&M) commitments.
"UCCDM will be approaching our leadership so that we can develop a strategy to alter the course on this issue," Denham told United Church News. "We treasure the church's upfront approach on major social issues. The time has come for the church to lead on this issue, just as it has on many other key issues throughout our history. May this issue become part of our great story."
The Rev. Grant F. Sontag of Mountain View, Calif., says the church and its leadership have not given enough emphasis to the UCC's A2A movement.
"We want the initials A2A right up there alongside ONA and M&M," Sontag said. "Our presence, our witness and our ministry are essential to the life of the whole UCC and not just a part of it."