There is a rising tide of interest and involvement in inclusive faith community supports for people with disabilities and their families in North America, and a growing number of clergy, scholars, people with disabilities, family members, and service providers interested in the multiple ways in which faith and theology intersects with disability. This Summer Institute on Theology and Disability is part of that tide, and this year it happens to be washing ashore in the Raleigh-Durham area June 11-14, hosted by Duke Divinity School and Edenton Street United Methodist Church.
The Institute faculty includes a number of the best-known scholars and leaders in the arena of faith, theology and ministry, including John Swinton, Hans Reinders, Erik Carter, Julia Watts Belser, Bill Gaventa, and others. Each year, the Institute invites six other leaders to be plenary speakers, and there are more than 30 workshops led by participants from around North America and other parts of the world. Attendees usually number about 150.
Attendees include clergy, laity, seminary professors, chaplains, seminary and graduate students, leaders of faith-based ministries with people with disabilities, service providers interested in spiritual supports, and people with disabilities and their families who may be in any of those roles as well. It is a multi-faith event, for example, this year featuring sessions led by both Jewish and Muslim leaders as well as Christians from many denominations.
The Institute begins on Monday, June 11, with a “Community Day,” a day designed for clergy, laity, professional, families and others who cannot afford the time or expenses to come for the full four days. Highlights include an opening panel on current issues featuring Institute faculty, a keynote address by Timothy Shriver, Executive Director of Special Olympics International (and former seminarian), afternoon workshops led by faculty and others geared to Christian, Jewish, and Muslim perspectives on faith and disability, as well as two workshops designed for service providers and advocates related to quality of care and coping with loss and grief. It closes with a panel featuring creative voices in inclusive ministries from central North Carolina.
The Community Day program can be found here as well as at the 2018 Summer Institute website: http://faithanddisability.org/2018-institute. Registration is through Duke Divinity School at http://www.sitd2018.org. For specific questions, please contact Bill Gaventa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come join us.