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The United Methodist Church on Disabilities

Book of Disciplines (2012)
Part V: SOCIAL PRINCIPLES

III. THE SOCIAL COMMUNITY

¶ 162. I

Rights of Persons with Disabilities—We recognize and affirm the full humanity and personhood of all individuals with mental, physical, developmental, neurological, and psychological conditions or disabilities as full members of the family of God. We also affirm their rightful place in both the church and society. We affirm the responsibility of the Church and society to be in ministry with children, youth, and adults with mental, physical, developmental, and/or psychological and neurological conditions or disabilities whose particular needs in the areas of mobility, communication, intellectual comprehension, or personal relationships might make more challenging their participation or that of their families in the life of the Church and the community. We urge the Church and society to recognize and receive the gifts of persons with disabilities to enable them to be full participants in the community of faith. We call the Church and society to be sensitive to, and advocate for, programs of rehabilitation, services, employment, education, appropriate housing, and transportation. We call on the Church and society to protect the civil rights of persons with all types and kinds of disabilities.


Book of Resolutions (2012)


3002. United Methodist Implementation of the United Nations' Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons With Disabilities and the Americans With Disabilities Act

WHEREAS, the General Board of Global Ministries three decades ago called “United Methodists to a new birth of awareness of the need to include, assimilate, receive the gifts, and respond to the needs, of those persons with intellectual, physical, psychological and/or neurological disabilities, including their families”; and

WHEREAS, the General Conference resolved in 1980 to take major steps in adapting facilities, new and existing, such as “church sanctuaries, educational buildings, parsonages, camps, colleges, or other church-related agencies or facilities” so that they meet minimum guidelines for “barrier-free construction” (see “Barrier-Free Construction for People with Disabilities,” 2008 Book of Resolutions #3304); and

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has now been in existence for more than 20 years; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations adopted the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (Standard Rules) in 1993; and

WHEREAS, the ADA's and the Standard Rules' primary goal is to promote access to all aspects of social interaction including education, employment, commerce, recreation, government, and transportation, and

WHEREAS, the Lord Jesus Christ set the example of ministering to those with disabilities as a priority of his earthly ministry; and

WHEREAS, we as United Methodists have a policy of “Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors;” and

WHEREAS, people around the world are affected by disabilities caused by land mines, war, disasters, and natural causes, and one in five Americans has one or more disabilities;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the assembled delegates to this General Conference of The United Methodist Church 2012 affirm our support of the full implementation of the provisions of the United Nations' Standard Rules and the Americans with Disabilities Act including Title I, which states that employers “may not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities” and will “reasonably accommodate the disabilities of qualified applicants or employees unless undue hardship would result.”

Be it further resolved, that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church 2012 urge all our congregations and agencies to implement and enforce the provisions of the Standard Rules, ADA, and all disability-related programs within every area that members of The United Methodist Church reside with the same vigor and interest as they would any other law affecting their able-bodied constituency. This includes, but is not limited to the provision of accessible buildings, bathrooms, and parking; telephone access; hymnals and literature in large print and other alternative formats; closed captioning of all audiovisual media; amplification, assistive listening devices, and/or professional American Sign Language interpretation or other indigenous sign language interpretation and real-time captioning when needed.

Be it further resolved, that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church will show its adherence to the Standard Rules and the ADA by meeting in an accessible location and budgeting for accommodations needed by delegates and non-delegates, including but not limited to: providing large print and alternative format materials for visually impaired delegates and non-delegates; and providing professional American Sign Language interpretation or other indigenous sign language interpretation and real-time captioning for delegates and non-delegates to General Conference, including remote viewers. This is to be coordinated by the General Board of Global Ministries.

ADOPTED 2012

3003. Assisting Personal Mobility

WHEREAS, the International Organization of Mobility Providers estimates that some 22 million persons worldwide lack personal mobility because of land mines, polio, wartime injuries, and a host of other causes, and

WHEREAS, these persons usually live in dire poverty, are marginalized from society, hidden away in back rooms, and are often seen as embarrassments, and

WHEREAS, these persons of God's creation often live lives of misery and discomfort, “scuttling around on the ground like crabs” (the description of a missionary in Congo), eating the dust and mud of streets and trails, looking at people's feet, and

WHEREAS, such persons seldom have an adequate social life, being unable to attend school, go to church, visit relatives, or attend community events, and
WHEREAS, they long to be productive members of society, but must depend on others for mobility, and

WHEREAS, mobility devices are available that can provide for these persons a degree of mobility giving to them the fullness of human dignity, comfort, hope and productivity they deserve, and

WHEREAS, personal mobility should be a human right for all of God's people,

Therefore, be it resolved, that the next quadrennium shall be declared a time to focus on the need for providing personal mobility as an act of justice and compassion; and

Be it further resolved, that every entity of The United Methodist Church respond generously with time and resources: to analyze the mobility needs in their community and other parts of the world; to collaborate with people in need of enhanced mobility and with organizations involved with them; and to seek appropriate ways to address needs that have been identified.

ADOPTED 2004
READOPTED 2008
RESOLUTION #3004, 2008 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #47, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS