2015 TASH Conference has ended
This year’s theme, “Celebrating 40 Years of Progressive Leadership,” acknowledges TASH’s 40 years of generating change within the disability community and anticipates a brighter, more inclusive future for people with disabilities in all aspects of life. Each year, the TASH Conference impacts the disability field by connecting attendees to innovative information and resources, facilitating connections between stakeholders within the disability movement, and helping attendees reignite their passion for an inclusive world.

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Thursday, December 3 • 10:20am - 11:10am
Building an Inclusive Faith Community LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

Religion plays a critical role in the lives of many people. Faith communities can provide a natural support to people with disabilities and their families, providing both practical and spiritual aid. However, people with disabilities continue to be underrepresented in churches. People with disabilities and their families sometimes feel unwelcomed or marginalized in our churches. Pastors report feeling ill equipped to meet the needs of parishioners with disabilities. This study will identify to what extend seminaries prepare pastors to minister to people with disabilities and discuss ways to influence greater understanding between faith leaders, people with disabilities and families. OBJECTIVES: 1). Examine the potential positive outcomes for participation in faith communities. 2). Understand the extent to which seminaries prepare pastors to meet the needs of parishioners with disabilities. 3). Discuss some common barriers people with disabilities and their families experience to active participation in faith communities. 4). Examine ways to influence greater understanding and welcome of people with disabilities and their families with our churches. IMPORTANCE: Church congregations influence and are influenced by the broader culture. Seminaries have the potential to equip thousands of clergy to positively impact people. It is critical to understand the existing gaps in the preparation of future ministers to meet the practical and spiritual needs of all members of their congregation. TRANSLATING TOPIC INTO NEW OUTCOMES:Historically people with disabilities have found the church to be both a place of refuge and condemnation (Anderson, 2006; Ault, Collins, & Carter, 2013; Creamer, 2006). At times pastors and worship leaders unintentionally still perpetuate unrealistic images of people with disabilities as pitiful or inspirational, and use language uncritically that is often seen as offensive to people with disabilities (Creamer, 2006). Religious congregations are predominately made up of people without disabilities. However with education and support to learn about the needs of people with disability and their families, congregation generally demonstrate an openness to improve the conditions of their fellow human beings. Churches can provide practical, social and emotional supports to people within their congregations increasing their sense of belonging and community participation. The presence of individuals with disabilities can equally benefit the congregation through the sharing of their gifts and increasing the understanding of general human diversity. An understanding of the existing education that pastors receive during their seminary training is critical to identify the influences or educational gaps which exist in the preparation of future ministers to meet the practical and spiritual needs of all members of their congregation including those with disabilities and their families. By examining the common barriers that exist within faith communities, people with disabilities, their family members and service providers can begin to address these barriers and communicate their needs to their religious leaders and faith partners. The potential and desire to include all members of the community exists within the church walls and is a fundamental religious teaching for most faith communities. The practical application of this inclusive desire must be taught and examined.


Tammy Bachrach

PHD Student/Teacher, Chapman University
I am interested in helping faith communities welcome and foster full participation of people with disabilities into thier congregations and spiritual families.

Mina Chun

Ph.D. Student, Chapman University

Thursday December 3, 2015 10:20am - 11:10am PST
Eugene 1401 SW Naito Parkway Portland, OR 97201

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