Supporting Families

Marina 6

Keys to Faith Community Inclusion and Belonging

Thursday, November 2
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: Marina 6

Target Audience: Self-Advocates|Professionals

Participation in one's community of faith is a hallmark of a good life for people with disabilities and those who love them. This session provides context and strategies for chapters of The Arc to take a leadership role in developing partnerships with diverse faith communities. We will discuss why faith community participation is important to the well-being of people with disabilities, why barriers to participation and the current movement toward inclusion has made this a relevant issue. Participants will learn and discuss how their chapter can be actively engaged in supporting people with disabilities to advocate for participation in the faith community of their choice, and to elevate the importance of inclusion in faith communities. We will discuss how The Arc, as a community leader and expert, can convene diverse faith communities to address inclusion through culture shift, a person-centered approach to supporting individuals, and engaging congregations to initiate inclusive practices and strategies.

Learning Objectives:

Shelly Christensen

Inclusion Innovations Consulting
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Shelly Christensen, MA, FAAIDD is a leading faith community inclusion consultant and speaker. She wrote the book on faith community inclusion, Jewish Community Guide to Inclusion of People with Disabilities, and her new book, From Longing to Belonging: Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities, is due out soon. She is Executive Director of Inclusion Innovations providing training, organizational development and strategic planning for faith communities. Shelly holds a Master of Arts degree in Developmental Disabilities.

Shelly is co-founder of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) recognized every February. She is the Inclusion Specialist for the Ruderman-Chabad Inclusion Initiative (RCII), and co-founder and faculty of the Jewish Leadership Institute on Disabilities and Inclusion. Shelly is immediate past president of the Religion and Spirituality Division of AAIDD and was recently recognized as a Fellow (FAAIDD) for her contributions to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.


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Elaine Hall

Founder, Director
Inclusion from WithIn and The Miracle Project
Santa Monica, California


Send Email for Elaine Hall

Stephen M. Shore

Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education
Adelphi University
Garden City, New York


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Keys to Faith Community Inclusion and Belonging


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