EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR SERVICE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The official position of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that all members in regular standing be given full and equal opportunity within the Church to develop the knowledge and skills needed in the building up of the Church.
People with disabilities comprise from 12 to 18 percent of the membership of the North American Division. As an under represented people group, the Division has created a Commission for People With Disabilities to assist it in developing and implementing strategies that will ensure equality of opportunity in the shortest time possible.
COMMISSION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Broad Goals and Objectives
- To encourage North American Division churches to come into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
- To encourage the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the programs and services of the Seventh-day Adventist churches with the North American Division.
- To promote the accommodation of people with disabilities by providing services such as transportation to regular church and evangelistic meetings.
- To encourage churches to conduct surveys to determine and provide for the special needs of people with disabilities.
- To promote the development and utilization of people with disabilities in all aspects of church life, such as in volunteer service positions and on church boards and other committees of the local church and local conference.
- To encourage pastors and members to be sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities who are members and visitors of the local church.
- To encourage employing organizations of church entities to give fair and equal opportunities for employment to members with disabilities.
- To encourage local conferences to include in their job skills bank the names of qualified members with disabilities.
THE DISABILITIES AWARENESS COORDINATOR
To assist the Commission in the implementation of goals, objectives, and activities, a Disability Awareness Coordinator is appointed at the local church, local conference, and union conference levels of the North American Division. The duties and responsibilities of the coordinator at each of these levels include, but are not limited to:
- SERVE as a member of the North American Division Commission for People With Disabilities.
- PROMOTE disability awareness at union workers' meetings, on college and university campuses, and in other settings where union employees are gathered.
- ENCOURAGE the appointment of coordinators at the local conference level.
- TRAIN local conference coordinators.
- ORGANIZE a team to promote Disability Awareness Sabbaths and other awareness activities within the union.
LOCAL CONFERENCE LEVEL
- SERVE as a member of the Disabilities Ministries Advisory of the Union.
- PROMOTE disability awareness at workers' meetings, camp meetings, educational institutions, and in other settings as deemed appropriate within the conference.
- ENCOURAGE pastors to appoint a coordinator in their churches.
- TRAIN local church coordinators.
- ORGANIZE a team to promote disability awareness in the local churches.
- PROMOTE Christian Record Services and its programs for people with visual and hearing impairments (blind and deaf) throughout the local conference.
LOCAL CHURCH LEVEL
- MONITOR physical access to the church facilities and functions and make recommendations that will help to make the church fully accessible to people with disabilities.
- PROVIDE education for the church membership concerning mental, emotional, and physical disabilities and the people they affect.
- ASSIST in the process of assimilation of people with disabilities into active life in the church.
- CONDUCT surveys to identify the needs of disabled people in the church and the community.
- DEVELOP, coordinate, and maintain vibrant and useful programs that meet the spiritual needs of disabled members.
- SERVE as a liaison with Christian Record Services and with local organizations that provide services to people with disabilities.