Ways We Witness: Disability and the Mission of the Church, Ben Conner
In this presentation, Dr. Conner explores some of the many ways that Christian witness can be reimagined and enriched by recognizing the contributions of people with disabilities. How can we dis-able (remove ableist biases) from our understanding of Christian witness and open up pathways for more people all across the ability-disability spectrum to participate in this communal Christian practice?
Disability, Intersectionality and You: What You Need to Know, Angel Love Miles
This talk will give the audience an understanding of the foundational aspects of intersectionality, what it is and why it is such a critical framework to use for conceptualizing identity, difference and inequality in order to best serve people with disabilities.
Sketching the Map to Health: Reframing Health as a Sacred Journey with a Shared Destination, L. S. Carlos Thompson
Within various helping professions, much of our time and energy goes into helping persons who are deemed to be unhealthy become healthy. However, there is little time spent critically examining exactly who is considered a person and precisely what it means to be healthy. Within the contexts of this session, then, a robust and communally grounded definition of personhood will be provided that invites us to consider more sustainable and faithful ways of understanding the end goal of our work—health. We will examine personhood vis-à-vis interdependence and healing as the act of inviting others into the acts of embracing interdependence, friendship, and community.
We’re All in This Together, Tim and Sherrie Lowly
Participants will be invited into honoring life with disabilities both individually and communally. By viewing art works, hearing pieces of written word, questions and dialogue, this will be an experiential workshop.
Embracing the Differentially Abled in Church Community, Shirley You
Have you noticed barriers in the church between those who are differentially abled with the rest of the church community? Is there a way to bridge the gap to reflect the Kingdom of God while meeting the individuals’ special needs? The answer is yes. Come and hear how it has been done at Metro Community Church and brainstorm ideas of how to do so at your church as we continue to beat the heart of God for His WHOLE community.
Cancelled Faithfully Attending to the Intersections of Disability and Pain, Sarah Jean Barton
From both a faith leader and healthcare provider perspective, this workshop will propose and explore practices of faithfully attending to experiences of pain among people with a wide range of disabilities. We will first survey some of the unique circumstances and challenges of living with pain from a disability perspective. In response, we will investigate practices that can support us in attending more faithfully to those we care for with dual experiences of pain and disability. We will consider clinical, pastoral, and ecclesial contexts for care. Particular emphasis will be given to practices related to narrative and prayer, with a focus on ecumenical Christian engagements of the Stations of the Cross.
Here and Not Here: Ministering in Ambiguous Loss, Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner
Ambiguous loss, a term coined by psychologist Pauline Boss in the 1990s, refers to the incomplete, uncertain, and devastating loss experienced by those in close relationship with someone who goes missing. Ambiguous loss is more devastating than permanent loss, such as occurs in the death of a family member, because loss remains unclear and indeterminate. Grief and confusion relentlessly continue related to myriad unknowns and lack of closure when a loved is physically present but psychologically absent (i.e., Alzheimer’s disease, addiction, chronic mental illness, serious brain injury), or physically absent but psychologically present (i.e., immigration, missing soldiers, kidnapping, adoption, sometimes in divorce). This session will explore ambiguous loss, how to support those experiencing it, and identify important concepts for moving toward resilience.
Becoming What We Believe: The Import of the Sacraments for Conversion to an Ecclesiology of Disability, Jesse Slimak and Mike Walker
Conversion to Christianity is not a one-time event; rather, it is a central, ongoing, and multifaceted aspect of the Christian life, involving both individual and corporate repentance (metanoia). Thus, in the hope of creating a church that is accessible to all, this workshop will explore conversion specifically as a movement from believers’ often-unrecognized ableist perspectives towards a biblical, inclusive ecclesiology. It will focus on the central and necessary role of, and experience with, the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and a sacramental understanding of Christian life, as facets of the process of conversion.
Lunchtime Discussion Groups
- Leaders: Kathryn Porten from the Covenant Ability Network – We will provide an overview of Covenant Ability Network (CAN) residences, explore where the church is in regards to serving this population’s spiritual needs, and discuss the charisma and mutuality of this ministry. Our focus will be on adults with Intellectual Disabilities, which includes Alzheimer’s, Autism, Down Syndrome, etc. We expect to share information that will spark interest and curiosity within you and will provide opportunities for follow-up discussions.
- Leaders: Debbie Abbs and students from Access InterVarsity -Did you know that 19% of college undergrads and 12% of graduate and professional students have a documented disability? Access InterVarsity is an accessible and disability inclusive space for all to belong, grow closer to Jesus and use their God-given gifts. We will show a short video that features the disability journey of one of our students as well as how Access InterVarsity recently began. Come meet us and discuss how to include and co-labor alongside college students, alumni and volunteers with disabilities.