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Wheelchair mass.jpg
World News

Criticisms over plans to change liturgies to avoid isolating disabled people 'unfounded'

by Sophie Drew

A motion has been passed by the General Synod to make the Church of England more inclusive for disabled people. 

The plans were passed without a single abstention. Members of each house were asked to read their votes aloud, in a rare turn of events that made for a "charged" and "emotional" atmosphere.

Despite the motion being passed, some Christians were left frustrated by plans to change the liturgy.

It would see churches slightly change the language from "all stand", to a more inclusive phrase that would allow wheelchair users to participate. 

Rev Tim Goode - who brought the motion - believes that the plans are, wholeheartedly, good, and that the criticisms are entirely misplaced. 

He said: "As a disabled person, who has spent a considerable amount of time in a wheelchair, I tell you, when it states 'all stand', and I can't stand, then that is quite isolating.

"But also the experience and everyone around you standing means I cannot now see a thing. 

So at communion, when everyone stands for the prayer, suddenly, the walls of the church constrict right into me, because suddenly, I'm just surrounded by people and I have no access, visually, to what's going on at all. 

"It affects my hearing as well, because that's being blocked.

"Some people are worried that we were looking to retrograde, to change our liturgies.

"No, no, no, what we are saying, really, was that the way we worship physically in our liturgies really matters to people. 

"And it also matters to disabled people.

"The Church up until this point, had never, ever acknowledged or asked disabled people. We had never, ever been part of that conversation. 

"So, the language was very carefully chosen.

"We asked the liturgical commission to consider 'let's be part of a conversation now, going forwards, so that we are not forgotten any more, that we are actually listened to.'

"So the concerns that some expressed were totally unfounded because that is not where we're coming from at all; we're absolutely about collaboration."

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