Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities: A Guide for Service Providers, Families, and Congregations

Author: Erik W. Carter Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 264 pages, 6.0 x 9.0
ISBN: 9781557667434
Price: $27.95

Add to cart


A congregational community is an ideal place to share and strengthen faith, form lasting relationships, and develop special gifts and talents. Too often, though, people with developmental and other disabilities lack the opportunities and supports to fully participate in the life of their faith community. Thats why families and service providers need to read this groundbreaking guidebook—and share a copy with congregations that want to become places of welcome and belonging for people with disabilities.

Bringing his practical ideas to life with anecdotes, quotes, and examples of successful strategies, Erik Carter helps readers

  • reflect on how welcoming their congregation is—and could be—for people with disabilities and their families
  • articulate and pursue a bold vision of inclusion throughout their congregation, community, city, or state
  • take steps to break down attitudinal, architectural, programmatic, and other barriers to inclusion
  • design appropriate, inclusive religious education programs for children, youth, and adults
  • learn how service providers can actively support the spiritual preferences, strengths, and needs of people with disabilities

To make inclusion work in any faith community, this how-to book gives readers workable strategies and photocopiable forms for identifying indicators of welcome, encouraging community outreach, and gathering important information about the support needs of people with disabilities and their families.


"Sure to be a treasured resource for members of faith communitiesA foundational resource that will help faith communities broaden their mission to include people with disabilities."
Review: Apostrophe
"Addresses the magnitude of the problem that exists in people's attitudes about disabilities, whether they are well-intentioned or not."
Review: Christian Education Journal
"A valuable addition to two major fields of study--theological support of faith communities and special education....A must-read for the faith community who plans to do outreach to persons with disabilities as well as those without."
Review: Anabaptist Disabilities Network
"Delightfully interesting.The principles and guidelines that form the heart of this book will be relevant for many years to come."
Review: Religious Education
"A very practical book . . . an example of the integrity of a comprehensive congregation ministry, and [a] guide for improving the attitude of hospitality in any faith community."
Review: QUEST
"Practical, with examples of successful efforts and detailed questionnaires to uncover barriers."
Review: Execeptional Parent
"A 2007 Best Special Needs Title"
Review: Jewish Children's Adoption Network
"Covers a variety of aspects of integration of the individual into the community, including useful checklists, and suggests was that people with a wide range of disabilities can be welcomed and included in religious programming, as well as in religious educational settings."
Review by: Nella Uitvlugt, Executive Director, Friendship Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"A comprehensive guide enabling congregations to be truly welcoming communities for all people . . . I heartily recommend this as a 'first choice' resource for seminaries, clergy, churches, and service providers."
Review by: Jeff McNair, Professor of Special Education, California Baptist University
"A foundational resource . . . will help faith communities broaden their mission to include people with disabilities, and will provide answers that state agency workers have been seeking."
Review by: Thomas Hoeksema, Professor of Education, Calvin College
"Eloquent and wise . . . will be a treasured resource for members of faith communities who care about welcoming and using the gifs of all people."

Table of Contents

About the Author

  • Signs and Invitations - Bill Gaventa
  • Belonging, Believing, and Becoming - Rud and Ann Turnbull

  1. Lives of Faith: Moving Toward Full Participation

  2. A Welcoming Congregation: Signs of Hospitality

  3. Welcoming, Including, and Connecting: Becoming a Responsive Congregation

  4. Designing Inclusive Religious Education Programs

  5. Supporting Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families: The Other Six Days

  6. The Contributions of Service Providers: Supporting Spiritual Expression

  7. Launching Communitywide Efforts: Partnering Together for Inclusion


Appendix A: Examples of Faith Group Statements Addressing Disability and Congregational Inclusion

Appendix B: Resources for Service Providers, Families, and Congregations


Customer Account

Create an account

Forgot password?

International Customers

If you are shipping outside of the U.S., please send an email with the total order and shipping address to before checking out. We will calculate your shipping cost, and you will complete your checkout using international postage units. Thank you!