Creating Together, a 24-hour gathering looking at how we create spiritual resources and spaces that are inclusive for those of us with a visual impairment, took place in Windermere from 13 to 14 May 2016. The event was jointly planned by Methodist Women in Britain, Shoreline Conversations and Gaining Vision. All costs were met in full by MWiB from a generous legacy.
Fifteen people attended and shared their own experiences of visual impairment, whether personally or as friends, carers, spouses or partners. During our time together we explored the issues in a variety of ways including conversation, presentations, and spiritual reflections.
One participant said: ‘the most important thing is understanding the situation, and being sympathetic to the situation, asking “are you alright, Mary?”’
We quickly realised that ‘one size does not fit all’! Frustration was expressed about direct and indirect discrimination – social attitudes often being more disabling than the condition itself. Examples of good practice were shared, simple things such as having church services available ahead of time to be read electronically during a service, for instance, or paying attention to lighting, steps and other physical issues, as well as font style and size in printed matter.
One participant said: ‘the most important thing is understanding the situation, and being sympathetic to the situation, asking “are you alright, Mary?” ‘.
Our hope is that this experience will directly inform our practice in the creation of future resources, but also make us all more sensitive to and informed about the needs of others. We trust that this awareness can feed back into our daily lives and through us to our churches and wider communities.
We would be happy to take this conversation further – please do be in contact.