The North Alabama Conference “Bridge Builder” program encourages local churches to be active in disability ministries. The purpose of this program is to encourage churches to think of disability ministry as a two-way bridge. This bridge includes two equal components of ministering to people with disabilities and those with disabilities ministering to the members. The program recognizes churches that have taken steps to start or continue disability ministries and encourages others to begin the process.
The steps for a local church to be designated as a Bridge Builder are:
- Designate a lay member of the congregation as Director or Chair of Disability Ministries.
- Submit proof of having an active disability ministry, which includes:
- having at least one accessible parking spot marked with appropriate sign;
- list at least three things the church has done during the year to help those with disabilities (either directly or indirectly — for example, something all churches can do is to show that instead of noting in worship order materials that an asterisk means “the congregation stands,” that the asterisk means ” all who are able and wish to do so may stand.”;
- having a Disability Ministry Fund (however, there is no requirement for a set amount);
- give to the District Disability Ministry Fund and the North Alabama Conference Disability Fund (again, there is no set amount);
- actions such as installing an accessible parking space only count once
- a church cannot submit the same exact list of such activities each year.
- Show that the local church observed an annual Disability Awareness Sunday.
- Show that the local church completed an annual Accessibility Audit.
Churches meeting the above criteria will receive a certificate showing that they are Bridge Builders for the current year. Certificates are issued to churches for each year that they meet the criteria.
Beginning with the 2012 Annual Conference, a special award, the Bridge Building District of the Year, will be presented to the district with the highest percentage of Bridge Builder Churches. The award will be presented to the District Superintendent in appreciation of his/her leadership in the area of Disability Ministries.
Churches submit Information about activities to the District Director of Disability Ministries or the Conference Disability Ministries Convener in the consideration process.