Shut In, Shut Out, Shut Up: Ableism, Faith & Church

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Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against disabled people. Like racism and sexism, it classifies entire groups of people as 'less than'. This 4th series of Shut In Shut Out Shut Up explores ableism, faith & church across context, culture and practice.

Since 2012 the Living Edge conference has held space for disabled and neurodivergent people to gather, to resource each other and the church. These HeartEdge events share some of this experience, providing new space to ask challenging questions. Come and join the conversation with Fiona MacMillan and

Friday 14 May – Context

Ann Memmott and Dr Naomi Lawson Jacobs

Friday 21 May – Culture

Krysia Waldock and Rev Dr Jane Wallman-Girdlestone

Friday 28 May – Practice

Rev Dr Hannah Lewis and Dr Rachel Holdforth

Fiona MacMillan (she/her) is a disability advocate, practitioner, speaker and writer. Fiona chairs the Disability Advisory Group at St Martin in the Fields and is a trustee of Inclusive Church. She leads the planning team for their annual disability conference, now in its 10th year.

  • Calling from the Edge (2017) & Something Worth Sharing (2019) (editor) challenges, ideas & practical resources to create change -
  • Contributor to Disability (Inclusive Church, DLT 2014), Liturgy on the Edge (ed Samuel Wells, Canterbury 2018)
  • Fiona is on twitter @jpuddlegoose

Ann Memmott (she/they) is the author of the Church of England autism guidelines, and a member of the St Martin in the Fields/Inclusive Church disability conference planning team. Ann is a national adviser on neurodivergent inclusion, working with a variety of organisations, and a regular contributor to Radio 4's Prayer for the Day.

Dr Naomi Lawson Jacobs (they/them) is a neurodivergent, disabled researcher, writer and trainer. Naomi completed a PhD on disabled people’s experiences of churches in 2019, and is now co-writing a book on disability, churches and social justice. They were part of the planning team for the Living Edge conferences for several years. Naomi aims to use their research to support a growing disabled Christian movement, where a new thing is taking root on the edge of the church.

Krysia Waldock (she/her) is an Autistic and disabled PhD candidate exploring the inclusion of Autistic people within the context of belief systems. Her work focuses on social justice from the perspective of critical disability studies. She is currently researching the experiences of minority identities in churches, faith and humanist communities.

Rev Dr Jane Wallman-Girdlestone (she/her) is a priest, poet, painter and academic in the Church in Wales. Jane is a Fellow at the University of Aberdeen and a chaplain at St Paddam's Insitute in Cardiff. She is specialist in disability theology using radical activism, art, poetry and liberation theology.

Rev Dr Hannah Lewis (she/her) is a Deaf BSL using priest currently working in Liverpool Diocese as pioneer minister with the Deaf community and supporting disability access for parishes. She is also a freelance Deaf Liberation Theologian and researches, writes and presents on that topic whenever the chance arises.

  • Deaf Liberation Theology (2007) published by Ashgate
  • ‘Deaf Liberation Theology and Social Justice’ Religions, 2017, 8(10), 232.
  • ‘How can we develop more Deaf Christian Leaders?’ Theology Today, Vol 77, issue 2, 2020
  • @deafhannah on Twitter

Dr Rachel Holdforth (she/her) is a disability advocate, chaplain, spiritual director and printmaker. Rachel is disability advisor for her Area within the Third Order of the Society of St Francis. She is working on a series of prints representing disabled perspectives within Christianity.

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