Impact: Feature Issue on Faith Communities and Persons with Developmental Disabilities

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A newsletter issue continuing the dialog about inclusion that has already begun between persons with disabilities, faith communities, and the disability services system. "A basic component of human rights is freedom of religious expression. Individuals with disabilities have the right to choose their own expressions of spirituality, to practice those beliefs and expressions, and to participate in the religious community of their choice or other spiritual activities." This is the opening of the policy statement on Spirituality and Religious Freedom approved by the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR), now the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. It goes on to note that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families still experience mixed responses to their presence, gifts, and needs from congregations, and limited support for religious participation on the part of disability service providers. The articles in this Impact provide theological frameworks for inclusion, practical tips for welcoming individuals with disabilities into congregations, ideas for service providers seeking to support religious expression, and success stories from around the country. Its purpose is to contribute to the dismantling of the remaining barriers between persons with developmental disabilities and their chosen communities of faith.

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