Faith Resource List for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

by Elizabeth Sammons

Ways to Help People with Vision Loss
(Note that this resource also leads to great advice for other disabilities.)

“That All May Worship”
This interfaith guide helps to transform any congregation into a place that values, includes, and enjoys children and adults with all types of disabilities. (Note that this particular link is a scan with some imperfections, but it is accessible. Other sites and Amazon offer PDF and other versions for visual readers.

National Collaborative on Faith and Disability
Collaborative activities include developing and providing coordinated training, technical assistance, research, and product development in the area of inclusive spiritual supports to people with disabilities and their families, local seminaries and divinity schools, university programs, clergy, congregations, and service providers. The mission of the Consortium will be to support people with disabilities, their families, and those who support them in by providing national and international leadership in the areas of research, education, service, and dissemination related to disability, religion, and inclusive supports. Questions regarding this initiative can be directed to: bill.gaventa@gmail.com

Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition of the American Association of Persons with Disabilities
The Interfaith Disability Advocacy Collaborative (IDAC) mobilizes the religious community to take action on disability policy with Congress, the President and Administration, and society at large. IDAC is a diverse, nonpartisan coalition of national religious and religiously affiliated organizations whose core spiritual values affirm the rights and dignity of people with disabilities.

We’ve made efforts in sharing the below resources to embrace as many faiths and readings as possible. However, we don’t pretend that this is even close to a comprehensive list. Most but not all the resources listed are free of charge or available for small donations; each organization indicates pricing and other policies on its own website. After giving it a look, you may wish to do your own Google search, call an experienced blind friend or librarian, or even create your own resources. But here are a few jumping-off points, sent with a blessing and a smile. For convenience, these resources are listed in alphabetical order by organizational name.

Bibles for the Blind and Visually Handicapped International
Besides providing free Bibles in braille in a number of languages, Bibles for the Blind and visually handicapped international offers a great webpage listing both faith-based and secular resources for large-print, audio and braille publications including hymnals and study guides from a variety of sources.

Christian Record Services, Inc.
This Adventist organization offers free services, including access to the online library with more than 2,000 titles, Bibles, magazines, study lessons and more. Christian Record Services also offers free, week-long summer camps for both children and adults who have vision loss around the country. Phone for questions: (402) 488-0981

Episcopal Disability Network
Among other readings, this press provides braille, recorded, web-based, formatted large-print, and hard copy large-print editions of the Book of Common Prayer, daily devotions and many other readings, some on loan, others to keep.

Islam by Touch
Islam by Touch is a Non-Profit Organization committed to helping the blind learn and read about Islam through the distribution of books in braille. Call 973-930-5141 or email IslamByTouch@gmail.com.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Resources
Like many organizations, JW offers free Bibles in braille. However, additional audio recordings of the Bible with multiple narrators as characters and other audio and braille publications/downloads are also available free.

Jewish Braille Institute (JBI)
The JBI Circulating Library allows blind, partially sighted and reading disabled young people to receive a Jewish education alongside their sighted friends; it keeps the elderly, many of whom are coping with sudden vision loss, involved in the community of culture in which they grew up. JBI is dedicated to reaching out to seniors, their families and caregivers in an effort to raise awareness of JBI's unique services. The JBI Library has the largest collection of Jewish interest books in the world for the blind, visually impaired and reading disabled, containing well over 13,000 Talking Books, as well as several thousand Braille titles and Large Print materials. The Library uses the broadest possible interpretation of "Jewish interest" when selecting materials for its collection, which encompasses poetry, fiction, history, biography, short stories, humor, psychology and self-help, Jewish studies, memoirs, cookbooks, mysteries and more. The Bible, a wide variety of Haggadot, the Yizkor service and prayer books for all major denominations are available in Audio, Large Print and Braille formats.

Kauai's Hindu Monastery and the Shiva Braille Foundation
The mission is to transcribe Saivite Hindu religious books and information into English Braille and to distribute them world-wide. Transcriptions include many classic Hindu texts and learning materials.

Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive
This website contains numerous Buddhist meditations and other materials available in downloadable braille, large print and/or audio.

Latter Day Saints Resources
A collection of LDS Church content in Web-Braille format, including scriptures, Ensign Magazine, New Era magazine, and Friend magazine. A collection of audio, braille, sign language, and visual materials that let users with disabilities better enjoy the content on LDS.

Lutheran Braille Workers
This organization offers braille and large-print Bibles in many languages, hymnals and various audio, free upon request.
lbw@lbwinc.org
(800) 925-6092

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)
NLS offers available in audio, braille, digital text, and large print this reference publication including bibles and sacred texts of world religions in a variety of languages and versions. Commentaries, concordances, liturgies, prayer books, hymnals, and magazines are also listed. Prices are not provided as they change frequently. Additional information is available from the listed suppliers.

Presbyterians for Disability Concerns
In addition to current articles of local and cross-faith interest, this website offers a Congregational Audit of Disability Accessibility and Inclusion, from the Presbyterians for Disability Concerns leadership team, in consultation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Disability Consultants. Many suggestions are applicable to a wide variety of worship settings.

Summer Institute on Theology and Disability
While not offering publications of its own, this website takes you too many cross-faith resources, events, news and great contacts.

Unity Message of Hope
This free Online Electronic Braille Library from “Unity” features several hundred Christian and other spiritual titles available for download and embossing for any interested Braille reader.

Xavier Society for the Blind
This Catholic-based group produces braille books on spiritual and religious topics and provides braille catechetical textbooks for students in religious education courses. Additionally, the Propers of the Sunday Mass (Old and New Testament readings and selected prayers and responses) are available in braille and audio. Many people who receive such materials in braille serve as lectors in their churches. Xavier Society also offers a lending library of audio materials and produces books in braille on demand. In addition, it maintains on the website downloads of a number of human-narrated periodicals.

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