Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ELM Adopts Food Access & Information Access Policy

At the February ELM Covenant Circle (ELM’s board), ELM leaders participated in an 8-hour training by queer, trans (dis)ability trainer Colin Kennedy Donovan. This training led to a commitment by the Covenant Circle to explore expanding accessibility (in many forms, such as food, physical access and access to printed and online communications).

During the June Covenant Circle meeting a formal food policy and information access policy was adopted by consensus. The information access policy ensures that
web & print communications coming out from ELM can be shared and understood by all.

Part of the statement reads:
“We recognize that inaccessible communications have limited the ability of many people with disabilities to learn about and participate in our movement. We value the gifts and participation of people with information-related disabilities”

The food policy is in regards to food served at ELM events. Jay Wilson (left), ELM Diversity Chair explained, “ELM is committed to working against oppression and discrimination and for inclusion. As part of that commitment, we recognize that failure to meet the food needs of participants in ELM events can be a barrier to participation. This policy outlines the expectations for meeting the food needs of expected participants in ELM events which should be followed by event organizers.”

The policy will be implemented in regards to Holy Communion and all ELM hosted events where food is provided.

“Theologically and politically, Holy Communion as a symbol for our unity in Christ is strongest when we find ways for all people to participate as fully as possible. One relatively easy way to accommodate the elements to people with specific food needs [is] to always offer a low-allergen/gluten-free alternative host alone or in addition to other bread. Another easy way to increase communion access is to offer grape juice in addition to or instead of wine. The policy also describes safe-handling procedures to avoid contaminating communion elements with allergens.”
The board will consider a mobility access policy & environmental stewardship policy during their September meeting. The policies will be posted on www.elm.org later this summer. For more information on these policies please contact Rev. Jay Wilson: diversity(at)elm.org

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