Friday, 15 May 2020

Sharing your stories

President Dr Deidre Palmer has issued a Pastoral Letter to all congregations and faith communities encouraging people with disability within the Uniting Church to share their stories with the Disability Royal Commission.

“The 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church affirmed that all people are created in the image of God and along with all members, the faith, gifts, hopes and dreams of people with disability are to be valued and honoured,” writes Dr Palmer.

“To understand the prevalence and toll of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, it is essential the Disability Royal Commission hear directly from people with disability, their families, and support people.”

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability was established in April 2019, but has suspended its public events due to COVID-19.

The Commissioners are currently seeking responses to an Issues Paper on how to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability during emergencies.

Details on how to make a submission to the Commission or provide a response to the Issues Paper are available on the Royal Commission website.

The Uniting Church’s National Task Group for the Disability Royal Commission will be providing a response to the Issues Paper. If you would like to contribute information for the Church’s response, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with Emergency planning and response issues paper as the subject line.

“As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease around the country, the Uniting Church continues in its commitment to shape and advocate for a world in which all people can flourish” said Dr Palmer.

"Our recovery must include a significant focus on those who have suffered the most. Our success will be measured by the ways we become a society in which no one is left behind.

“As followers of Jesus, we are called to reflect on our past practices and contemplate how we can faithfully embody a community life that is accessible to all people in its theology and ministry praxis.

“This could include the ongoing offering of virtual Church services for people isolated from physical places of worship, and the offering of pastoral support and assistance to those who are most vulnerable.

“People with disability, their families and carers know the best ways to ensure people with disability are included and their input should be sought on how we can best approach recovery together.”

The Assembly Standing Committee recently endorsed Disability Access Guidelines for Assembly events and activities.

The Guidelines contain advice on attitudes and communications, a number of logistic and sensory considerations, and include a theological statement