The 'Reopen Churches' Conversation: Disabilities and the Margins

Christopher Endress* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The continued presence of COVID-19 has significantly disrupted most church practices, including the ability to gather in person for worship. This has greatly altered church life, and with no clear timeline established yet on if-and-when churches will be able to operate in ways similar to before, the calls for reopening churches began well in advance of any evidence of decreasing infection rates. While within this conversation are discussions to be had concerning the relationship between Church and State, as well as an acknowledgement of the privileging of economic systems over relational systems, this article responds to the lack of disability awareness within the mainstream conversation as an act of pastoral justice. A history of how the church has engaged with disability is used to provide context otherwise missing from these accounts, and a critique of their argumentation is offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-206
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pastoral Theology
Issue number2-3
Early online date30 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021


  • disability
  • pandemic
  • embodiment
  • marginalization
  • ecclesiology


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