Creative Ideas for Worship with All Abilities

Hazel Bradley and Jim Cargin

Apr/2021, 248 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6.75 x 9.25

ISBN-13: 9781640653993



This vital resource explores the essential considerations of pastoral work with those with intellectual disabilities.

Drawing on the vast experience of the L’Arche community that fully includes and centers those with intellectual disabilities, this practical guide offers ideas for imaginative worship to engage people with all abilities. It gives suggestions for enabling participation and building familiarity while keeping worship fresh and varied, with ready-to-use themed service outlines that are appropriate throughout the Christian year. It includes a compendium of resources for creating your own acts of worship, including prayers, blessings, stories, quotes, a directory of online resources, ideas for what to keep in a “liturgy box,” ideas or seasonal decoration of the worship space, and many more resources from L’Arche.

This book is rooted in the belief that each human being is on a spiritual quest to find meaning in their life, and while each person’s path is uniquely their own, we share the journey together. The important thing is to encourage each other’s personal development, and celebrate the gifts and talents that emerge within and for the whole community.

Read an excerpt

Download the Questionnaire for Leadership Team

Download the Church Belonging Form

HAZEL BRADLEY has forty years of international experience of L’Arche. She has created many worship services for L’Arche International, L’Arche UK and various communities. These include funeral services, jubilee celebrations and large assemblies. She has also co-authored a workbook available on the World Community for Christian Meditation website on meditating with groups of people with and without learning disabilities.

JIM CARGIN is a copywriter on the L’Arche International Communications Team, past editor of Letters of L’Arche, and the former communications director in L’Arche Internationale.


List of Illustrations
Foreword by the Rt Revd Stephen Conway
Preface: The purpose of this book
Delighting in the gifts of all our members
Welcome to our church: bridges and obstacles

Part 1: Towards an inclusive church: how to include people with a learning disability in the life of the church

A questionnaire on disability and inclusion for a church leadership team
Examples of specific ministries including people with learning disabilities
Guidelines on accompanying a person with learning disabilities to church
A church belonging form

Part 2: Towards creative inclusive church services
Ideas and suggestions for inclusive church services
Eight basic guidelines
Opening up Scripture with people with learning disabilities
How to prepare inclusive mimes on Scripture stories
An adapted Holy Communion Prayer

Part 3: Twelve examples of church services
1 The call of Abraham
2 The call of Moses
3 The call of Mary
4 The Visitation
5 The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
6 The wedding at Cana
7 The Samaritan woman
8 The parable of the sower
9 The feeding of the 5,000
10 The raising of Lazarus
11 The call of Mary Magdalene
12 The risen Jesus appearing by the lakeside

Part 4: How to plan creative inclusive small group celebrations
Introduction 101
Guidelines for planning small group celebrations
Twelve small group celebrations
1 Building up the body
2 Light in the darkness
3 Encouragement – the Visitation
4 Welcome – Abraham and Sarah at Mamre
5 Searching and finding – Parable of the Lost Coin
6 Forgiveness and reconciliation
7 Discovering the most important thing – Parable of the Pearl
8 Looking after each other – the Washing of the Feet
9 The Cross
10 Transformation
11 Celebration – Parable of the Banquet
12 Gifts – Pentecost

1 A glossary of ‘Church-speak’ for all
2 Songs
3 Booklist
4 Online resources
5 Templates


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  • liturgy
  • Eucharist
  • community
  • inclusivity
  • learning disabilities

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