Author: Francisco Uy

Getting Down to Work

Your faith community is most likely a welcoming one and wants to be inclusive of people with disabilities and of other individuals who may feel under-represented. You may already do things to make people with disabilities feel at home in your community. That said, your community may also unwittingly exclude people with disabilities, because many traditions and environments have been designed without considering the needs of people with disabilities. In the past, this exclusion was accepted by most and not questioned. Today, however, we know better but can still be exclusive because we have not fully integrated inclusive thinking into the design of our traditions, activities, and spaces.

1- Strategies for Shifting Attitudes & Promoting Active Participation

You can begin by actively questioning and thinking about welcoming behaviour:

  • How do you demonstrate openness at the core of your faith community?
  • What are your current beliefs about welcoming?
  • Who is not represented or unable to participate?

Welcoming goes beyond the invitation, and includes making sure that you find out about the needs of individuals with disabilities to participate and then to engage in a way that meets these needs.

Just Ask. Just Listen.

Inclusive thinking means changing habits and behaviours. Your community may need to consciously bring inclusive thinking into all activities before these inclusive habits are developed. Getting to know what you need to think about to be inclusive can be easier than you expect. We recommend as a first strategy a very simple approach:

Just ask. Just listen

Ask people with disabilities, “How can we be more welcoming? How can we be more inclusive?” Listening carefully to their response can help create a shift in how you think about inclusion. Sometimes we don’t ask because we feel unsure of how to interact with someone with a disability and do not want to be offensive.

Interacting with People with Disabilities

People with disabilities want to participate as volunteers in activities and on committees at places of worship. Here are some tips to make it happen.

Check the resource section for tips on interacting with people with disabilities, or follow this link to a chapter from Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design (http://uiaccess.com/accessucd/interact.html).

Accessibility does not equal inclusion. To be included in a community means to have opportunities to actively participate and make contributions to the community.

Welcome People into Active Participation

Welcoming also means enabling participation in all aspects of your community so that individuals know that they are able to engage.

Begin by advertising that you are looking for candidates of all abilities in media/locations (virtual and physical) that are frequented by people with disabilities in your community.

  • Use diverse imagery within your advertising and media materials, such as those at photoability.net (a for-fee database of stock photos of people with disabilities) or at other image houses online.
  • Advertise! Make it known that you have flexible ways to lead and volunteer for the community (e.g., online from home, volunteer with a buddy or partner, single task volunteering, and regularly scheduled volunteering).

Set Up Inclusive Training and Meetings

  • Take advantage of the flexibility of electronic text (it is easily read aloud by a screen reader, enlarged, converted to Braille, adjusted for colour and contrast, as well as shared) and provide training materials and information in accessible digital formats.
  • Take advantage of freely available and inexpensive audio and video conferencing solutions to enable remote participation in training activities, meetings, and volunteer tasks.
  • Use plain language in training materials.

Create Tasks in an Inclusive Manner

  • Have flexible tasks so that they can be tailored to fit different people’s skills and be shared. For example, an individual who is blind could teach a skill to a group of children with the help of a sighted person to manage physical supervision.
  • Consider what tasks or parts of tasks can be carried out from their homes.
  • Divide tasks into smaller sub-tasks/requirements so that you can better match each individual to available tasks.

Maintaining Participation of People with Disabilities in Your Community

  • Seek to have people with disabilities represented at all levels of your community. Who is on your board? Who is volunteering on the front line?
  • Develop policies and procedures that support inclusion, diversity, and accessibility through the inclusion committee.
  • Set continual goals for inclusion and evaluate success of meeting inclusion goals and supporting diversity.
  • Find and fix barriers to participation of people with disabilities.
  • Have all volunteers complete an exit interview to learn more about the volunteer experience.
  • Ask potential leaders and volunteers what they would like to do for your community organization, the skills they would like to put to use, and what their goals are in working with you.
  • Focus on what people are able to do and maximize these opportunities by reassigning or redesigning tasks or parts of tasks that have barriers or are more difficult to accomplish.
  • Allow people to identify what they are good at and what they would like to do, rather than create a prescriptive role. This will create an opportunity for the person with a disability to tell you how they would best fit into the organization.
  • When possible, create roles with flexible timelines or opportunities to participate remotely or with a support worker. Make the availability of these flexible roles known to volunteers.
  • Pay attention to travel and time constraints so someone who struggles to get around or who has to manage other commitments (such as booking attendants or medical appointments) will be able to participate in your community.

Have You Tried These Things?

  • Set aside a time to discuss welcoming at a regular meeting.
  • Discuss who the most welcoming people are in your community and what they do.
  • Listen to the voices and needs of people with disabilities in your community.
  • Identify and remove barriers to being welcoming and participation.
  • Offer opportunities for people to volunteer in groups or pairs.
  • Offer flexible time commitments and/or partnering arrangements that will enable individuals with episodic disabilities to volunteer.
  • Offer transportation (e.g., carpool or shuttle) for those who do not drive.
  • Ask people what you can do to support their commitment.
  • Provide access to refreshments, if applicable.
  • Provide an accessible space to secure belongings.
  • Ask people with disabilities to volunteer and lead in the different areas of your community.

Progress Checklist

  • We as a community understand the concept of welcoming.
  • We see the ways that all of us have a level of responsibility in ensuring accessibility.
  • We have established an Inclusion Committee.
  • We have included people with disabilities in committees, as well as in praying, singing, dancing, music, speaking, and preaching in worship services.
  • We have provided support and resources for people with disabilities to actively participate in the community.
  • The tasks needed to be completed are tailored to each person’s abilities and areas of interest.
  • We set up and organize inclusive training workshops.
  • We have reached out and asked how to remove barriers to inclusion, and devised creative solutions.
  • We now have more items that are checked “yes” under Barriers of Attitudes on the Brief Accessibility Checklist.

2- Strategies for Improving Communications

Communication is a process of providing, sending, receiving, and understanding information. A person’s disability may affect the way that the person expresses, receives, or processes communication.

Do not make assumptions based on a person’s disability. What may be a very effective way of providing information for one person with a disability may not be for another. People with the same type of disability may communicate in different ways because of diverse skills or resources. For example, only a small percentage of people who are blind use Braille. Where possible, it is helpful to ask the person directly how to communicate with them.

How Can We Create Accessible Communication Material?

  • Make sure all written and spoken materials used in worship practices, programs/activities, and advertisements are in plain language. Offer other formats (e.g., large print, audio, digital on a website, and Braille).
  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content (e.g., captions for pictures).
  • Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia (e.g., audio description of pictures and videos).
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, such as screen readers for blind and low vision users, without losing meaning.
  • Use different technology to spread your message in order to reach a wide variety of people across age and ability groups. Reach out through mobile, social media, and computer applications. Make all functionality available from a keyboard, if online.
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not use content that causes seizures (anything that flashes more than three times in any one-second period).
  • Help users find what they are looking for.
  • Make text readable and understandable. Use language that is to the point and gets your message across in the simplest way possible.

Tips for Creating Accessible Communication Materials

  • When you create new information, think about what might help someone who has vision loss, hearing loss, or a learning disability understand it.
  • For existing information, think about making it available in an accessible format; for example, using large print for someone with vision loss.
  • Hire people with disabilities to create content for your community.
  • Use clear fonts and contrasting colours for any documents you hand out or display.
  • Incorporate various forms of visual, text, and audio elements into communication so that people can understand your message through the medium they feel most understandable.
  • Offer to provide captioning and sign language interpretation to accommodate more members.

Have You Tried These Things?

  • Provide ample notice of events to allow people to arrange for disability accommodations.
  • Include an inclusion statement on all advertising.
  • Collect information about disability accommodation needs through registration forms.
  • Include contact information for disability accommodation requests in your advertising.
  • Follow up on accommodation requests.
  • Include international accessibility symbols in your advertising to indicate disability accommodations you can offer.
  • Advertise in different formats for people with diverse ranges of ability, including (but not limited to) audio-recording, Braille, and/or web-based formats.
  • In your meetings and services offer materials in large-print and digital formats (some members bring their tablets to your services).

Progress Checklist

  • We offer information in different formats as needed in order to ensure that our message reaches people with a variety of disabilities.
  • We create content with a diverse audience in mind.
  • We have extra hard copies printed.
  • The audio/visual controls are adjustable.
  • We offer verbal descriptions of visual content.
  • We are working on captioning some videos.
  • We ensure that our message is delivered in a clear and understandable manner.
  • We have provided an outlet for accessibility feedback after presentations in order to further improve.
  • We mix up the ways we deliver our message to attract and engage all people in the community.
  • We now have more items that are checked “yes” under Barriers of Communication on the Brief Accessibility Checklist.

3- Strategies for Making Buildings and Facilities Accessible

In both urban centres and rural communities, worship spaces act as important places for outreach, faith-based programming, and social and cultural activities. This makes worship spaces ideal for forming connections and socializing for people with disabilities. Inclusive design can be implemented in order to ensure the possibility for people with disabilities to make the most of their worship experiences.

Tips for Improving Access to Worship Spaces

The understanding of physical accessibility in Ontario faith communities needs to be looked at in a different way. Physical accessibility is often the most addressed aspect of the needs of the disability community, and yet many communities are still not fully accommodating. Physical accessibility does not end with ramps for wheelchair users. Access needs to include elements, such as

  • spacious entryways
  • clear signs to guide people through buildings
  • unscented spaces
  • adjustable lighting
  • audio and visual aids
  • inclusive seating (e.g. chairs available where they are not normally used, pews being shortened in various places so space for people using wheelchairs and strollers is available throughout the place of worship, not in a single area)

Tips for Accessible Buildings and Environments

  • Consider how people are going to arrive at your space.
  • Consider offering diverse transportation options to members with disabilities.
  • Provide information about accessible parking.
  • Provide information about wheelchair access.
  • Check your outdoor and indoor pathways to be sure that they are free of barriers.
  • If you have elevators, try to make them fully inclusive for diverse members.
  • Provide inclusive, clear, high-contrast signage.
  • Check the acoustics. It is important to provide minimal echo.
  • Indicate the location of accessible bathrooms.
  • Be sure that all electrical cables and cords are securely covered for safe crossover.
  • Provide a quiet area with dim lighting.

Have You Tried These Things?

  • Set up the space to be generous to users of wheelchairs and scooters.
  • Provide accessible seating areas in the front, middle, and back.
  • Reserve seating for people with disabilities and their companions to sit together.
  • Included adjustable lighting in your worship space.
  • Promote a fragrance‐free environment.

Progress Checklist

  • We recognize the way physical space can support or remove a person’s feeling of welcome.
  • We have considered the setup of the room and how people with disabilities will interact with the environment.
  • Everybody in our community knows that by law, service animals are welcome in all public spaces, with few exceptions (e.g., food preparation areas), and can be dogs or other animals.
  • We provided guidance to congregants on not interacting (e.g. distracting, petting, etc.) with service animals who are working (e.g., wearing a harness).
  • We have an indoor or outdoor relief area for service animals and provide them with a water bowl.
  • We accommodate transportation when possible (e.g., arrange carpool).
  • We completed the accessibility checklist as a launching point into promoting a culture of accessibility.
  • We have used and promoted technology and apps to report back on how well we are doing in terms of inclusion and accessibility.
  • We now have more items that are checked “yes” under Architectural Barriers on the Brief Accessibility Checklist.

Links to Implementation Examples

Welcoming New People into Your Community

Inclusive thinking is an ongoing process that means learning new habits and behaviours.

Step 1: Have a Plan for Welcoming New Community Members

Prepare your welcome committee members on how to interact with people with disabilities. Let the newcomer know that inclusion and accessibility is a priority in your community. Be clear about how any needs for an accessibility accommodation can be communicated. If people with disabilities can share perspectives on worship spaces, committee service, community engagement, and hospitality with friends, then faith communities can offer dynamic proof of the diversity that all of our traditions strive to celebrate.

Step 2: Reach Out to People Who Are Not Currently Included in Your Community

As mentioned earlier, it is possible that some may have had negative experiences from previous attempts to join a faith community. It is important for you to spread the word about all the accessible and inclusive features your community has to offer. Use your current communication channels and find new ones such as posting on accessibility mapping applications like wheelmap.org/en, AXSmap. com or AccessNow.me, asking advocacy groups to tell their members about you and have your community members share with their social networks. More importantly, get the attention of people with disabilities. Look at section 2- Strategies for Improving Communications (p. 16) in this guide for more information.

Step 3: Build Relationships with People with Disabilities

Remember, not everyone will come to your community fully ready to tell you about their disabilities or their accessibility needs. In fact, many may try to hide their disabilities or avoid entering the community completely. For people to open up, you must first build trust and a relationship.

  • Ask and Listen. Still not sure if you are providing enough? Just ask: “How can I/we help?” Then listen. You don’t need to have all the solutions. Odds are that you probably will never have solutions that would work for everyone. By directly asking people, you can show your support and your care while making more people feel welcome.
  • Ask how a new member would like to participate in the community. Ask what they would need to fully participate in your community. This may be a good practice for all existing and new members of your community.

Progress Checklist: How much have you progressed?

  • We can identify and successfully welcome new members with disabilities.
  • We ensure that new members feel a part of the community and go out of our way to include them.
  • We have tried to incorporate person-centred planning in our community.
  • We understand the different approaches of welcoming people of a variety of disabilities with respect.

Links to Implementation Examples

Buddhist Communities

Great Compassion Bodhi Prajna Temple

The Great Compassion Bodhi Prajna Temple has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Brandon
gcbptemple.canada@gmail.com
416-893-8366

http://gcbptemple.org/

19 Hidden Forest Drive, Cedar Valley, Ontario L0G 1E0


Buddhist Centre Toronto Mahavihara

The Buddhist Centre Toronto Mahavihara has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Photo taken at the front gates of the Buddhist Centre Toronto Mahavihara which shows the main building with a red roof and brown walls. The front steps are visible to the main door and a ramp on the left.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Nayanthi Wijesooriya
torontomahavihara@rogers.com
416-208-9276

http://torontomahavihara.com

4698 Kingston Road, Scarborough, Ontario M1E 2P9

 


Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple 佛光山

The Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple 佛光山 has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Betty Young
info@fgs.ca
416-893-8366

http://www.fgs.ca/

6525 Millcreek Drive, Mississauga, ON L5N 7K6

Christian Communities


Communities

in Canada


Anglican Cathedral Church of St. James

St. James Cathedral: An Anglican Community on 106 King Street East, Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Lanadee Lampman
lanadee@rogers.com

Website: https://stjamescathedral.ca/

Address: 106 King Street East, Toronto, ON M5C 2E9

Phone: (416) 364-7865


Archdiocese of Toronto

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

The Archdiocese welcomes your feedback on access to the service they provide with this form  Accessibility Feedback FormParishioners or visitors who wish to provide feedback on the way the Archdiocese of Toronto provides services to people with disabilities may contact the Archdiocese of Toronto in person, by telephone (Human Resources: 416- 934-0606), in writing, or via email (accessibility@archtoronto.org). You may expect to hear back within 15 business days upon receipt of feedback.

Website: https://www.archtoronto.org/

Address: 1155 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4T 1W2


Bathurst United Church

The Bathurst United Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Val Lem
vlem2011@gmail.com

Website:https://www.bathurstunited.ca/

Address: 427 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7

Phone: 416-979-5000 x 6891


Bloor Street United Church

The Bloor Street United Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Val Lem
vlem2011@gmail.com

Website: https://www.bathurstunited.ca/

Address: 300 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W3

Phone: 416-979-5000 x 6891


Canadian Council of Churches

The Canadian Council of Churches has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Pastor Peter Noteboom

Website:https://www.councilofchurches.ca

Address: 47 Queen’s Park Cres E, Toronto, ON M5S 2C3


Church of the Redeemer

The Church of the Redeemer has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Carol Scovil
accessibility@theredeemer.ca

Website: theredeemer.ca

Address: 162 Bloor West, Toronto, ON

Phone: 416-922-4984


Emmanuel College

The Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Adele Halliday
ahalliday@united-church.ca

Website: http://www.emmanuel.utoronto.ca

Address: 75 Queen’s Park Cres E, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7

Phone: 416-231-7680 x 2756


Evangel Hall Mission

The Evangel Hall Mission has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Jennifer Sully-Ferraro
jennifer.sullyferraro@evangelhall.ca

Address: 552 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3W8

Phone: 416-504-3563 x 222


First Christian Reformed Church of Toronto

First Christian Reformed Church Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open community-inclusion workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you’re interested in participating in this community, please contact:

Lyle Clark, Disability Advocate

Website: https://www.firstcrctoronto.org/home/

Address: 67 Taunton Road, Toronto, ON M4S 2P2


Fontbonne Ministries

Fontbonne Ministries: A Roman Catholic ministry runs by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Leanne Kloppenborg
lkloppenborg@csj-to.ca

Website: http://www.fontbonneministries.ca/

Address: 101 Thorncliffe Park Drive, Toronto, ON M4H 1M2

Phone: (416) 467-2640


Friendship Ministries

The Friendship Ministries has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Website: friendship.org


Generous Space Ministries

The Generous Space Ministries has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Eric Van Giessen
eric@generousspace.ca

Website: https://www.generousspace.ca

Address: P.O. Box 20014, Applewood Village, Mississauga, ON L4Y 4L2

Phone: 1-855-542-8724 x 702


Graduate Christian Fellowship

The Graduate Christian Fellowship at the University of Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Geoff Wichert
geoff.wichert@utoronto.ca

Website: http://crc.sa.utoronto.ca/category/graduate-christian-fellowship/

Address: Wycliffe College – 5 Hoskin Ave., Toronto, ON  M5S 1H7

Phone: 647-994-3751


Holy Myrrh-bearers Orthodox Mission

The Holy Myrrh-bearers Orthodox Mission, within the Orthodox School of Theology at Trinity College, UofT has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Geoffrey Keady
geoffrey.keady@utoronto.ca

Website: https://www.myrrhbearers.ca

Address: 6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1H8

Phone: 647-567-8955


International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation

The International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Stephanie Nixon
stephanie.nixon@utoronto.ca

Website: http://icdr.utoronto.ca

Address: Rehabilitation Sciences Centre, 8th Floor
500 University Avenue at Dundas Street West

Phone: 416-946-3232


Jeremiah Community

The Jeremiah Community: A Christian Community in Parkdale has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Jason McKinney
jasontmckinney@gmail.com

Website:http://jeremiahcommunity.ca/

Address: 201 Cowan Ave, Toronto,  ON M6K 2N7

Phone: 416-654-6729


KAIROS Canada

KAIROS Canada has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Website: kairoscanada.org

Address: 310 Dupont St. Suite 200, Toronto, ON M5R 1V9


Metropolitan United Church

The Metropolitan United Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Lisa Hems
lisahems@sympatico.ca

Website: https://www.metunited.org

Address: 6 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M5C 2Z3

Phone: 416-697-8973


Newman Centre

The Newman Centre has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Website: https://newmantoronto.com

Address: 89 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2E8


Presbyterian Church in Canada

The Presbyterian Church in Canada has taken the Our Doors Are Open webinar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Emily Hill
ehill@presbyterian.ca

Website: https://presbyterian.ca

Address: 50 Wynford Drive, Toronto, ON M3C 1J7

Phone: 416-441-1111


Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Website: https://www.archtoronto.org

Address: 1155 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T 1W2


St. Albans Anglican Church

St. Albans Anglican Church in Ottawa has taken the Our Doors Are Open community-inclusion workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you’re interested in participating in this community, please contact:

Rev. Jonathan Askwith, Interim Priest-in-Charge

Website: https://stalbanschurch.ca/

Address: 454 King Edward Avenue, Ottawa, ON  K1N 7M8


St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

St. Andrew Church: A Presbyterian Community on 73 Simcoe Street, Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Rev. Bob Faris
b.faris@standrewstoronto.org

Website: http://standrewstoronto.org/

Address: 73 Simcoe Street, Toronto, ON M5J 1W9

Phone: (416) 593-5600


St. Basil Parish Church

The St. Basil Parish Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact: office@stbasiltoronto.org

http://stbasiltoronto.org/about-us/from-the-pastor/

Address: 50 St Joseph St, Toronto, ON M5S 1J4


St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church

St Elizabeth Parish Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Kinga Csiszer

szte.iroda@gmail.com

Address: 432 Shepard Ave East, Toronto, ON M2N3B7

Website: http://stelizabethofhungary.archtoronto.org/

Phone: 416-225-3300


San Lorenzo Church

San Lorenzo Church: An Anglican community has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Monica Bustamante
mbustamante@christian-horizons.org

Address: 2981 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6B 3T4

Website: http://www.sanlorenzo.ca/

Phone: (416) 795-0182


St. Paul’s United Church

St. Paul’s United Church: An United Church community on 308 King Street, Midland has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Pat
pat@patriciafile.ca

Address: 308 King Street, Midland, Ontario, L4R 3M6

Website: http://www.stpaulsmidland.org

Phone: (705) 526-6077


St. Peter Parish Church

The St. Peter Parish Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Website: http://stpeterswoodbridge.com

Address: 100 Bainbridge Ave, Woodbridge, ON L4L 3Y1


St. Philip Neri Parish

St. Philip Neri: A Roman Catholic Community on 2100 Jane Street, Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Br. Joseph
bro.joseph@stphilipneri.ca

Website: https://www.stphilipneri.ca/

Address: 2100 Jane Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3M 1A1

Phone: (416) 241-3101


St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church

St. Stephen’s Church: A Presbyterian Church community on 3817 Lawrence Ave. East, Scarborough has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Rev. Alex Wilson
st.stephens.scarborough@gmail.com

Address: 3817 Lawrence Ave. East, Scarborough, Ontario, M1G 1P9

Phone: (416) 431-0841


Student Christian Movement

The Student Christian Movement from the University of Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Esther Townshend
esther@scmcanada.org

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Website: https://scmcanada.org

Address: 310 Dupont Street, Suite 200, Toronto, ON

Phone: 647-206-6132


The Salvation Army – Disability Working Group

The Salvation Army – Disability Working Group has taken the Our Doors Are Open webinar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Christine Johnston
christinejohnston@can.salvationarmy.org

Phone:416-389-2941


Toronto School of Theology

The Toronto School of Theology has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Emma CW Ceruti
emmacw.ceruti@mail.utoronto.ca

Website: https://www.tst.edu

Address: 47 Queen’s Park Crescent East, Toronto, ON M5S 2C3

Phone: 226-374-4435


Toronto United Mennonite Church

The Toronto United Mennonite Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Peter Haresnape
peter@haresnape.net

Website: https://tumc.ca

Address: 1774 Queen St. East, Toronto

Phone: 647-849-8818


United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada has taken the Our Doors Are Open webinar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Stephen Fetter
sfetter@united-church.ca

Website: https://www.united-church.ca

Address: 3250 Bloor Street West, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4

Phone: 416-231-7680 x 4148


Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

The Waterloo Lutheran Seminary has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Laura MacGregor
lauramacgregor47@gmail.com

Website: https://luther.wlu.ca/

Phone: 519-885-3467


Wilfrid Laurier University

The Questioning Ability class in Wilfrid Laurier University has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.


Wine Before Breakfast

Wine Before Breakfast has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Aileen Verdun
aileenverdun@gmail.com

Website: http://crc.sa.utoronto.ca/wine-before-breakfast/

Address: Wycliffe College, 5 Hoskin Ave, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1H7

Phone:226-374-4435


Communities

in the United States


North Park Covenant Church

North Park Covenant Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open community-inclusion workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you’re interested in participating in this community, please contact:

Libby Piotrowski, Co-pastor

Website: https://www.npcovenant.org/

Address: 5250 N Christiana AvenueChicago, IL 60625


Sacred Heart Catholic Parish Church

The Sacred Heart Parish Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Sister Mira Taurannang
mikaiokirara728@gmail.com

https://www.sacredheart311.com/

Address: 5250 N Christiana Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625

Address: 311 River St, Waltham, MA 02453, United States

Phone: +1 781-899-0469


Communities

in the United Kingdom


 St Benedict’s Catholic Church

St Benedict’s Catholic Church has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

DanielFerguson

catecheticalcoordinator@ealingabbey.org.uk

Website: http://www.ealingabbey.org.uk/

Address:

St Benedict’s Ealing Abbey
Charlbury Grove
Ealing,
W5 2DY

Parish Office
2 Marchwood Crescent
Ealing
W5 2DZ

By Public Transport:

The nearest rail or tube (Central and District) services run to Ealing Broadway Station.

Nearest Bus Stops:
Castlebar Road – Amehurst Road [E10 & 297] Eaton Rise – Marchwood Crescent/ St. Benedict’s School [E2, E9 & PR1]

See the Transport for London website for the latest information and the best routes from other stations or postcodes.

Phone: 020 8862 2160


Jewish Communities

ITANU Toronto

The Inclusive Synagogues Working Group is supported by ITANU and meets bi-monthly to advance inclusion in Toronto synagogues. These are shuls who have access to the guide and has participated in our Train-the-Trainer Seminars.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Connie Putterman
(416) 635-2883 x5385
inclusion@ujafed.org

https://jewishtoronto.com/itanu-toronto-inclusion-synagogues-working-group

4600 Bathurst Street
Toronto, ON M2R 3V2


Hamilton Jewish Federation

The Hamilton Jewish Federation has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Anita Berrnstein
bernstein.anita@gmail.com

https://www.jewishhamilton.org/

1605 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 1E6


Reena

This community welcomes people with disabilities and has helped in the making of the Our Doors Are Open guide.

For more information visit:
http://www.reena.org


Temple Sinai

Temple Sinai: A Jewish community on 210 Wilson Ave., Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Yael Scutaru
yael@templesinai.net
(416) 487-4161

http://templesinai.net

210 Wilson Avenue, Toronto, Ontario  M5M 3B1


Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism

Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Rabbi Aaron Levy
aaron@makomto.org
(416) 546-6043

http://makomto.org

402 College St, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1S8


 

Hindu Communities

Hare Krishna Temple – ISKCON

Hare Krishna Temple – ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Hare Krishna Temple – ISKCON, 243 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 2J6

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Satyabhama
satyabhama@torontokrishna.com
416-414-4123

http://iskcontoronto.blogspot.com/


Hindu Prarthana Samaj

Hindu Prarthana Samaj has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Hindu Prarthana Samaj, 62 Fern Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 1K1

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Naresh Thakur
naresh.thakur55@gmail.com
647-970-6109

http://www.hinduprarthanasamaj.ca/


Hindu Temple Richmond Hill

Hindu Temple Richmond Hill has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Hindu Temple Richmond Hill, 10865 Bayview Avenue, Richmond Hill, ON L4S 1M1

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Vignarajah
vignarajah.temple@gmail.com
416-830-1482

http://www.rhht.ca/


Jai Durga Hindu Society

Jai Durga Hindu Society has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Jai Durga Hindu Society, 2701 Markham Rd, Scarborough, ON M1X 1M4

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Jeff Lal
jefflal@jaidurgatemple.ca
416-892-3959

http://jaidurgatemple.ca/


Siva Sathya Narayana Temple

Siva Sathya Narayana Temple has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Siva Sathya Narayana Temple, 1325 Matheson Blvd E, Mississauga, ON L4W 1R1

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Chandru Gurukkal
srisivatemple@gmail.com
416-418-1090

http://sivatemple.ca/


Sri Aathiparashakthi Hindu Temple

Sri Aathiparashakthi Hindu Temple has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Sri Aathiparashakthi Hindu Temple, 3021 Markham Road, Unit 45, 46 and 47, Scarborough, ON M1X 1L8

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Chandramouli Sastrigal
sakthi1226@gmail.com
416-293-1226

https://sriaathiparasakthi.org/


Sri Muthu Vinayagar Temple

Sri Muthu Vinayagar Temple has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Sri Muthu Vinayagar Temple, 468 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M5A 2H3

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Pragatheeswara Sarma
jeyamsarma3@gmail.com
416-904-2564


Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation

Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation, 80 Brydon Dr, Etobicoke, ON M9W 4N6

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Roshan Lal
rosh4162@yahoo.ca
416-829-3647

http://www.svbfcanada.com/


Vedanta Society of Toronto

Vedanta Society of Toronto on 120 Emmett Ave., Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Insert Logo Here

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Abhijit
abhijit2412@gmail.com
(416) 240-7262

http://newsite.vedantatoronto.ca/contactus.shtml

120 Emmett Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M6M 2E6


Vishnu Mandir

Vishnu Mandir: A Hindu community 8640 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

Image

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Janty
janty1556@gmail.com
(905) 886-1724

http://vishnumandir.com

8640 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4Z 6Z4


Muslim Communities

Islamic Institute of Toronto

The Islamic Institute of Toronto offers accessible facilities  and provides ASL for Friday sermons, Ramadan Programs etc.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Farhad Khadim
iit@islam.ca or registrar@islam.ca

www.islam.ca

1630 Neilson Rd, Scarborough, ON M1X 1S3


Jamia Qasimul Uloom

Jamia Qasimul Uloom has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Mufti Abrar Koya

Tel: 416 431 2589

www.jquloom.ca

3482 Lawrence Ave E,

Scarborough, ON


Newmarket Islamic Centre

Newmarket Islamic Centre has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Imam Mohammed Bemat

Tel: 905 895 8886

www.newmarketislamiccentre.ca

700 Mulock Drive,

Newmarket, ON


Muslim Association of Hamilton – Hamilton Mountain Mosque

The Hamilton Mountain Mosque has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Imam

Tel: 905 383 1526

www.hamiltonmosque.com

1545 Stone Church Rd. E,

Hamilton, ON


Al Abraar Muslim Association

Al Abraar Muslim Association has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Imam Reefat Mohammed

Tel: 647-547-5407

www.alabrar.ca

155 Edward St,

Aurora, ON


Islamic Centre of York Region

The Islamic Centre of York Region has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Erum Imam

Tel: 905-887-8913

www.isyr.org

1380 Stouffville Rd,

Richmond Hill, ON


Omar Mosque

Omar Mosque has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Imam Abdullah Qadri

Tel: 905 544 9016

www.hamiltonmosque.com

734 Rennie St,

Hamilton, ON


Darul Khair Centre

Darul Khair Centre has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please send an email to info@darulkhair.ca

www.darulkhair.ca

86 Ringwood Drive, Unit 36.

Stouffville, ON


Barrie Mosque

Barrie Mosque has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Imam Mateen

Tel: 705-999-7176

barriemosque.ca

155 Ferris Lane,

Barrie, ON


Danforth Islamic Centre

Danforth Islamic Centre has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Irshad Osma

Tel: 416 916 2853

danforthislamiccentre.com

3018 Danforth Avenue,

East York, ON


Ibrahim Jame Mosque

Ibrahim jame Mosque has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Imam Mohammad

Tel: 905 527 2392

www.ibrahimjamemosque.com

778 King St. East,

Hamilton, ON


Ismaili Centre, Toronto

Ismaili Centre, Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Mumtaz Waljee

Tel: 416-751-4001 x677

https://the.ismaili/ismailicentres/toronto/visiting-toronto

49 Wynford Drive

Toronto, ON


Masjid Al Jannah, Scarborough

Jannah Mosque has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Imam Ismail Ulghar

iulghar2608@gmail.com

Masjid Al Jannah - SLIFO - Sri Lanka Islamic Foundation of Ontario

Address: 2201 Ellesmere Road Toronto (Scarborough)
        Ontario, M1G3M6 Canada 

Phone: 647.342.7544

Email: info@slifo.ca

Sikh Communities

Gurdwara Sikh Sabha Gurdish

Gurdwara Sikh Sabha Gurdish is a Sikh community on 905 Middlefield Road, Scarborough that has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Manjit Parmar
manjit@ramrapsolutions.com
(416) 299-4800

http://www.gursikhsabha.ca/

Address: 905 Middlefield Road, Scarborough, Ontario, M1V 4X1

 Ontario Khalsa Darbar

The Ontario Khalsa Darbar is a notable Sikh Gurudwara (place of worship) in Mississauga, Ontario. One of the largest Sikh Gurudwara in Canada, it attracts tens of thousands of celebrants for major religious festivals.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Moneet Bahadal at anotherbrowngirl13@gmail.com

Sundeep Dhaliwal at dhaliwalsundeep@hotmail.com

Address: 7080 Dixie Rd, Mississauga, ON L5S 1B7

http://ontariokhalsadarbar.org/

Gurdwara Nanaksar- Brampton

Gurdwara Nanaksar-Brampton is located in the city of Brampton in the Toronto area and is known as Nanaksar Toronto. This Gurdwara is the second to be built in Canada after Winnipeg. Sant Baba Gurdev Singh Jee came to Canada for the first time in the year 1980 along with Ragiis (Monks).

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Ishleen Kambo at  ishleenkambo@gmail.com 

Guneet Daid at guneet.daid@gmail.com

Address: 64 Timberlane Dr, Brampton, ON L6Y 4V7

http://gurdwarananaksar.org/english/brampton_e.html

Multi-Faith Organizations

Spiritual Dialogue Circle

The Spiritual Dialogue Circle has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Reverend Michelle Singh
michelle@michellesingh.com

http://interfaithtoronto.ca/


Toronto Area Interfaith Council

The Toronto Area Interfaith Council has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Bob White
bob@bri.ca
647-849-8818

https://www.taic.ca/

Catholic Pastoral Center
1155 Yonge Street, Suite 100, Toronto, Ontario M4T 1W2


Multi-Faith Centre (University of Toronto)

The Multifaith Centre from the University of Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open seminar. This community welcomes people with disabilities.

If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:
416-946-3120

http://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/mf

569 Spadina Avenue Toronto, ON  M5S 2J7


L’Arche Toronto

L’Arche Toronto has taken the Our Doors Are Open workshop. This community welcomes people with disabilities.
If you are interested in participating in this community please contact:

Lydia Banducci

email: lydia@larchetoronto.org

Address: 186 Floyd Ave., Toronto, ON, M4J 2J1

Website: http://www.larchetoronto.org/


Opening Your Doors

Welcome New People with Disabilities

Your faith community is most likely a welcoming one and wants to be inclusive of people with disabilities and of other individuals who may feel under-represented. You may already do things to make people with disabilities feel at home in your community. That said, your community may also unwittingly exclude people with disabilities, because many traditions and environments have been designed without considering the needs of people with disabilities. In the past, this exclusion was accepted by most and not questioned. Today, however, we know better but can still be exclusive because we have not fully integrated inclusive thinking into the design of our traditions, activities, and spaces.   


Full and meaningful participation in rituals, worship and faith community activities affirms belonging and is often an extension of one’s faith. People with disabilities in your community may be excluded from full participation in these activities but inclusion is almost always possible with some creative thinking and a plan for action.


Inclusive thinking is an ongoing process that means learning new habits and behaviours. Ontario faith communities can be more welcoming to people with disabilities.  Following is a brief description of what you can do. You can learn more about each step by following the “learn more” link, viewing the Video Training, and reading the Our Doors Are Open Guide.


Step 1: Form an Accessibility Committee

A good way to make inclusion and accessibility a priority in your community is to form an accessibility committee (also called a “disability awareness committee” or an “inclusion committee”); this is a group of people in your faith community that looks after the needs of people with diverse abilities. Members of accessibility committees are the community’s champions for accessibility for people with disabilities.

You can begin by recruiting people with disabilities for leadership roles within your community. Having people with lived experience of disability in leadership positions is critical for creating and supporting a more inclusive infrastructure. They will be able to give advice on accessibility and inclusion matters within your community based on their personal/professional knowledge, expertise, and experience.

Learn More>>

Step 2: Identify Barriers

Although accessibility may seem like a practical issue, it is also a theological one. When a faith community has barriers to accessing its facilities, rituals, and practices, the community is making a statement about its beliefs and about who should be included. Identifying and removing barriers is a key step in the inclusion process.

Learn More>>

Step 3: Make a Plan

Are you missing a few things from the Brief Accessibility Checklist? Perhaps all you need is a simple tweak. You may be worried that adding some of the features on the checklist may be too costly. Don’t worry! There are always creative ways to tackle problems that are innovative and affordable. Read the rest of the guide for ideas. Also, check out our website (https://opendoors.idrc.ocadu.ca/category/participating-communities/) for what other communities are already doing. Do you have an accessibility solution that you are really proud of? Share your idea with us on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/OurDoorsAreOpen/).

Learn More>>