ICI Partners with Collaborative Supporting People with Disabilities in Faith Communities
Eighty-four percent of people with disabilities say religious faith matters to them, and almost half attend a place of worship at least monthly. Conversely, one-third of parents changed their place of worship because their child was not included or welcomed, and only 10% of faith communities do congregation-wide disability awareness. Those statistics are from the Collaborative on Faith and Disability, a partnership of 15 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) — including ICI — who are supporting people with disabilities and their families through leadership related to disability, religion, and inclusive supports.
"ICI has been involved with the Collaborative since its inception because faith is an important part of the lives of many people, including those with disabilities. However, people who receive services often do not have the opportunity to participate in and express their faith as they would like," says Angela Amado, who directs ICI's participation in the Putting Faith to Work project of the Collaborative based at Vanderbilt University. Amado and ICI's Joe Timmons were among the authors of the 2016 manual published by the Collaborative, Putting Faith to Work: A Guide for Congregations and Communities, which focuses on the role of faith communities in connecting job seekers with disabilities to meaningful employment.
On June 5-8, the Collaborative will present the 2017 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. The multi-faith institute brings together scholars, clergy, seminarians and other graduate-level students, laity, and people involved in inclusive faith supports — including people with disabilities and their families in all of those roles — to explore the inclusive intersections of faith and disabilities. "The Collaborative and the Summer Institute empower university and faith community personnel to work together to make a difference for personal, community, and systems change so everyone, including those most marginalized, can have these opportunities to experience, express, and deepen their faith," concludes Amado.