Wednesday, 15 November 2017


No, not this kind of Font - this is the one used in churches for Baptisms...

Image result for fonts church

I mean the Font we use for Print

All of the Accessibility advice - from people with actual accessibility needs - tell us that we should always use a Sans Serif font.

No italics, no words in block capitals, no underlining.

And have clear spaces around each block of type.

And shorter sentences with fewer sub-clauses.

Like this.

Here is a really good document which gives advice :  AbilityNet

And this one too:  RNIB advice


I often hear sighted people complain 

"but those Fonts are so plain"

"I want my poster to look interesting, not boring"

Which means we end up with busy posters that visually impaired people can't read.

Like this one (where I have blanked out the identity of the church):

Well done.

Your posters are not meant to make you happy.

They are meant to give all of the information to all of the people! 

Not just the people with eye-sight as good as yours...

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Disability and Senior Church Leadership...

Memories Moment...

As I was searching for something else on my laptop, I came across this letter written to The Times over I year ago...

Disability and Senior Leadership
In July 2016 the General Synod had on its agenda a report (GS 2026) entitled 'Nurturing and Discerning Senior Leaders' from the Development and Appointments Group.   It is part of the wider programme of 'Renewal and Reform' - an "ambitious programme of work" to address mission and growth, and to reverse the decline of the Church of England.

The Report (GS 2026) specifically relates to Senior Leaders - ie those already ordained in the Church of England. Early in the Report it talks about representation of diversity in terms of age, gender, ethnicity and church tradition.  These areas are discussed and acknowledged throughout the Report.  

Disability is awarded a generous 2 sentences at Point 39 "The issue of disability has featured very little in the Church's exploration of diversity within senior leadership.  This will be an additional focus for 2017-2019 and a further working group will be set up to lead this work." 

It appears that the stated desire for diversity does not extend to Disability (as noted by Revd Zoe Hemming in her speech to General Synod), and there is no mention of the Deaf community (the Report perhaps making the faux pas that the word Disability includes Deaf people...)  Revd Tim Goode in his speech to General Synod noted that the language of the Church of England in its reports is often unhelpful - "the issue of disability" - pointing out that disabled people don't want to be thought of as "issues" (and it is worth noting that the word issue doesn't come up when discussing age, ethnicity or gender).  

It would appear that Deaf/disabled people are not expected to become senior leaders even though, as Revd Bill Braviner noted in his speech to General Synod, disabled people are made in the image of God like everyone else - they are not ‘mistakes' on God’s part. Everyone sits on a spectrum for whatever ability/disability we care to mention, and God calls us all to discipleship and ministry. Vocation, including to senior leadership, arises across those spectra. 

The report does not address this, and the omission is only acknowledged in two sentences (almost as though someone mentioned it in passing as it went to the printers...) and then as a future 2 year project.

The Report does not address the question of pre-ordination vocation and discernment, namely the person 'in the pew' having a sense from God that they should be ordained, and beginning the process of discernment.  To be fair, the Report was never given that 'start of process' remit.  Equally, it does assume that minorities and diversity is already represented within the ordained body of the Church in order for the programme to identify and resource such people into senior leadership roles. 

Which begs the question - where is such a report which deals with calling, discernment and vocation to ordained ministry, and does it include reaching those who are Deaf and disabled?  We have had events and roadshows dealing with Young Vocations, Womens Vocations and BAME Vocations.  Where is the roadshow for Deaf & Disabled Vocations?  How many Deaf & disabled people are currently ordained in the Church of England? How did they find the discernment process? 

One priest I know, who has a disability, described the discernment process as "trying to slip under the radar of ablebodied-ism and become as abled as I could to 'hide' my seemed to work".  

Another said: "people in my parish were encouraging and it was me who pushed against it, very hard indeed. DDOs were sceptical, even hostile at the outset... The CofE does not actively encourage vocations amongst disabled people in the same way as it does for women, young vocations or BAME candidacy as evidenced by the fact that in [my] Diocese, at least, stats for disability are not separated out."

Perhaps this is a grass roots call for all the Deaf and disabled ordained ministers to create a roadshow of their own, and encourage vocations by coming out of the shadows.  

The Church of England has a paid National Advisor for Disability, and various Committees, but as we have seen the structures and reports are making no impact in this area (indeed, seem to have no guidance or basic briefings to include it in their remit from the start). 

We at ‘Disability and Jesus’ are up for that challenge - who is with us?

Revd Katie Tupling
Revd Bill Braviner
Mr David Lucas, 
and guide dog Jarvis

Co-Founders of ‘Disability and Jesus’ 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Doesn't time fly...

I confess...

It has been over two years since my last post....



And you know how I said we'd never move again?

Well, we did!

300 yards away

Into a house which was infinitely more 'disabled accessible' than the one we'd started off in...


A space to flourish...

And we got a dog!

And I said I was Vicar of just the one church...?

Well now it's 2!

Now it's Strictly time, so I'm off to watch it with the Wee Tup, whilst Tall Tup makes dinner...

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Disabled - but not uniquely so...

It was a bit weird, if I'm honest...

I was recently part of a day conference hosted by the Inclusive Church Network, looking at Disability and hearing different people's experiences. I was there with Dave, Jarvis his guide dog, and Bill - we are the core team of a group called Disability & Jesus.

And it was great.

And it was weird.

I was suddenly surrounded by people with disabilities.

I found myself at one point sat on a chair alongside 3 people in wheelchairs, looking across at another 4 wheelchairs, 2 guide dogs, and a variety of people with walking aids...

You rarely find that outside A&E departments.

I'm usually the only disabled in the village - surrounded by ableds.

At the conference I was not unique.

Neither was I alone.

As I say - great, but weird. 

Monday, 29 December 2014


It's Monday morning,  the first proper rest day post Christmas and the first of the 6 I'll take as holiday before putting on my dog collar and resuming 'normal' service.  I should be asleep,  having turned my alarm off, booted the snoring husband to the spare room for one night to guarantee unbroken sleep. Instead, it's 07:33 and I'm wide awake,  processing....


Vicars - well, ok,  perhaps just this one - are caught up between the two ends of a tug-o-war rope.  


At one end, the annual cycle of events and services, patterns of worship, seasonal 'must do it like this' moments - and I spent a day putting them in my diary through 2015, along with observations as to how they'd gone this year,  reminders ahead of time about publicity and planning,  and notes as to whether they needed tweaking or completely re-thinking. Also at that end are the nuts and bolts of management: the fabric of a Victorian building which shows itself again and again to be a huge frustration when it comes to welcoming and hosting a total of almost 900 people over the 5 services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: the growing and pressing need for staff appraisals, especially in the light of one who refuses to be a team player and instead presents the world with the sour and disapproving face of the Church: the Budget that doesn't give anyone a sense of joy: the expectations (from Diocese, local clergy, people in the pews,  teenagers in the youth group, Church Council, Leadership Team...) that I will be the catalyst for church growth (just like in the golden days when Revd *pick your favourite vicar from past years* was here) ........ The list goes on......


And at the other end of the rope? 




.... The quiet, but persistent question, "what's the Jesus-point of all this?"  


And I have 2 problems.


You see,  the 1st rope end could be any organisation trying to run itself efficiently, develop its staff, make its buildings fit for purpose,  balance its budget when money (and generosity) is short, and present its purpose to the public in an engaging and attractive manner. An entire Church Council can go by with no mention of God...


And whereas Jesus should be at the other end of the rope taking the strain and shouting encouragement,  I look and see that he's tied it to a tree and has disappeared somewhere else.... And I really want to know where he's gone and what he's doing. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Walk with me....

Walk with me....

Not holding back from the pace you'd rather be walking at....

Not walking ahead, then waiting for me to catch up, then walking ahead.....

Not in a gang ahead of me as though I don't count....

Actually with me, shortening your pace to match mine, your speed to match mine,
almost as though you're needing to keep up with me, rather than hold back for me...

Please, walk with me.

Just once.

Walk with me.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

It's quiet.... A little too quiet...

Tup-towers is quiet.

Too quiet.

Since the wee man started school for the 1st time, and Mr T has gone back into full time paid work, the house is quiet most of the day.....

Nice to have my space back? To have my timing back? To be distraction free?

Actually, no.