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Disability Inclusion

We are committed to ensuring people with disabilities are full and equal participants in all activities of the Synod.Striving for this goal means engagement and advocacy with individuals, congregations and presbyteries, and a range of organisations beyond the Synod.

Since 2010, our Disability Inclusion Advocates have been involved in developing:

For more information, contact Rev Andy Calder on 03 9340 8844.

Disability Action Plan 2023-2026

The Synod’s Disability Action Plan 2023-2026, in response to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, has been produced in Plain Language and Easy English formats. It was launched on 4 March 2023, at Rowallan Park, Kingston Uniting Church, Presbytery of Tasmania.

These two versions complement each other and need to be read and considered as a whole.

You can find the Disability Action Plan along with the additional resources below:

For more information, contact Rev Andy Calder on 03 9340 8844.

Autism and Congregational Life

Produced as part of Synod’s 2019-2022 Disability Action Plan, and coinciding with International Day of People with Disability, a three-part video series is now available. It features perspectives of:

  • Three autistic people
  • Two parents of autistic children, plus
  • Two Uniting Church ministers talking about disability and theology.

Additional resources and suggested discussion starters also accompany each video.

The videos, downloadable resources and conversation starters can be found here.

For more information, contact Disability Inclusion Advocate Rev Andy Calder.


Road trauma memorial

Solace is Victoria’s first state-wide road trauma memorial aimed at giving people a space to reflect on the impact of road trauma and remember those who have lost their lives on Victoria’s roads.

Located in Geelong, Victoria, the north-facing waterfront location gives uninterrupted views of Corio Bay from its site on Hearne Pde, Eastern Beach. It has been a partnership between the UCA Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Amber Community,  and City of Greater Geelong.

Picture of Memorial sunrise in the page Disability Inclusion

The artwork

The memorial is also a piece of public art created by Ocean Grove artist Don Walters.

Using the cyclical moon phases to represent the experience of grief, Solace takes the lunar phase as a metaphor for the constantly changing range of emotions those experiencing loss through road trauma. The semi-circular shape and space within the structure also encourages visitors to experience and ‘move through’ the space.

The sculptural aspect of Solace is in seven parts made of a combination of stainless steel and stone. A stainless steel rim encloses and holds the stone that is shaped into segments that represent phases of the moon’s cycle.


University Of Sydney research project

Sydney University’s Centre for Disability Studies has launched a research project titled NDIS: Rhetoric versus Reality? That will explore the realities of living with intellectual disability in Australia, and the impact the National Disability Insurance Scheme has had individualised funding.

The three-year study study will examine, within this era of disability reform, how people with intellectual disability are having their needs met and the extent to which they are involved in decision-making about their lives.

The study will use a mixed method design that will specifically examine the relationship between self-directed individualised funding and its effect on personal wellbeing, self-esteem and voice, choice and control.

People with intellectual disability will act as co-researchers.

The specific aims of the project are:

  • To identify perceptions held by adults with intellectual disability about their lives since the introduction of individualised funding, and to assess the impact of such funding on having their needs met, as well as on their personal well-being and self-esteem.
  • To evaluate the everyday ways that individuals with mild and moderate intellectual disability exercise choice and control, and harness the supports required to do so.
  • To identify ways that people with intellectual disability perceive how disability industry practice (particularly staff support and coordination) could be improved to further enhance personal wellbeing.
  • From the findings, to develop recommendations for government, the disability service industry, and disability advocacy groups, to review guidelines for the delivery of the NDIS.
  • To determine the role co-researchers with intellectual disability can play in the evaluation of support schemes.

The project brings experienced University Chief Investigators directly alongside co-researchers with intellectual disability, along with partner investigators from six disability organisations, including Uniting VicTas and the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.

For more information, see Related Documents below and/or email Dr Eric Badu, Post-doctoral researcher at Sydney University.

Disability Royal Commission

On May 21, Moderator Rev Denise Liersch released a pastoral letter highlighting the Church’s response to the federal Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The Assembly has established a national Task Group, with each Synod required to coordinate a response. The Synod of Victoria and Tasmania’s Task Group includes representatives from congregations, Uniting VicTas, schools liaison and relevant Synod staff.

The Task Group has been producing resources and information about how the Church needs to respond to the Commission, and these have been circulated across the Synod.

Any person with disability who has experienced violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation, either within the Uniting Church or beyond, is encouraged to tell their story to the Royal Commission.

In drawing this to your community’s attention, you are encouraged to use both the Values Statement produced in Easy English and the short video People with Disability in the Community produced by Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALiD)

Anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission can access free, specialist counselling support through Blue Knot Foundation. Call 1800 421 468.

For further information contact Chairperson Rev Andy Calder on 03 9340 8844.

Mental Health

Mental Health Forum

Mental Health: does religion/spirituality help or hinder? was the topic of a forum hosted in June 2021 by Rev (Deacon) Dr Andy Calder of the Synod’s equipping Leadership for Mission Unit (eLM). The keynote presenter was Prof John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen. The keynote presentation is available for viewing.

Mental Health Kit

A Mental Health Kit for Congregations is available for download here. The kit contains personal perspectives, worship resources, sermon starters, a list of community-based resources and checklists to help congregations better respond to people with mental health issues.

Wesley Mission Queensland has assembled two Q&A video series focusing on COVID-19 and mental health. One is designed specifically for people living with a disability and the other is for the deaf community.

Click here to find the 12 videos for people living with a disability and click here to find the 12 videos for the deaf community.

Called to be a Church for All

The Transforming Worship Circle has created a new liturgy that acknowledges both the experiences of exclusion and embrace for people with disabilities. To download the liturgy, click here.

Related Documents