We All Have Special Needs: Are You Ready?

Summer Spotlight

Every community includes the gifts and needs of the many. And yet, unity only happens when we value each person in the life of the whole. Our summer spotlight is dedicated to the truth that unity will always include those with special needs. So we have compiled resources, stories, a podcast, and more, as an expression of unity. We hope that this spotlight is a gift to you, and to your community.

Highlighting Special Needs Awareness in Your Community

Elizabeth RameyMy Special Needs Son is a Gift to Religion
By Elizabeth Ramey, Chief Finance Officer of My Journey, organization that works professionally alongside citizens of the state of New Mexico with special needs

iTunes logo  soundcloud logo  Google Podcast Logo  YouTube logo


Libby ByrneLiving and healing in faith communities
By Libby Byrne, PhD, adjunct lecturer and honorary research associate with the University of Divinity in Australia



Resources For Your Community

Ability Ministry
“As an independent Christian non-profit ministry, we strive to enhance the lives of persons affected with disabilities by providing services for persons with developmental disabilities, including residence, job placement, opportunities for social interaction and spiritual growth.”

Advocacy Coalition

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Religion & Spirituality Division
“Working to foster opportunities for spiritual growth with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Interfaith Initiative
“The mission of the AAPD Interfaith Initiative is to support people with disabilities and their families as they seek spiritual and religious access, and to bring the powerful and prophetic voice of the faith community to the 21st Century disability agenda.”

Anabaptist Disabilities Network
“Linking congregations, families, and persons touched by disabilities with resources and support services within the community of faith.”

Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Religious Educations for Those with Special Needs

Assemblies of God
Special Touch Ministry
“Special Touch Ministry provides lots of opportunities for people with disabilities to experience God, be included in the church, and build meaningful relationships with caring believers”

Christian Reformed Church in North America Disability Concerns
“Disability Concerns strives to promote and foster relationships, communities, and societies where everybody belongs and everybody serves by assisting churches, agencies, institutions, and leadership within the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America”

Church of God in Christ
Sunday School Disability Ministry
“Outreach to People with Disabilities through the Sunday School Department”

Church of the Brethren Disabilities Ministry
“The Disabilities Ministry is committed to opening doors and building bridges in the Church of the Brethren and beyond so that all may worship, serve, be served, learn, and grow in the presence of God as a valued member of our Christian community.”

CLC Network
“We partner with schools, churches, and families to create communities of belonging for persons of all abilities.”

Collaborative on Faith and Disability
“The mission of the Collaborative on Faith and Disability is to support people with disabilities, their families, and those who support them by providing national and international leadership in the areas of research, education, service, and dissemination related to disability, religion, and inclusive supports.”

Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN)
“The Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN) promotes the inclusion of persons with disabilities in faith communities.  CAN provides tools for individuals and families, friends and advocates, and faith congregations and communities.”

ELCA Disability Ministry
“The ELCA social message “People Living with Disabilities” clearly states the hope that we as part of the body of Christ would work together across our various ministries, as well as in our personal lives.”

Evangelical Covenant Church
Disability Ministry
“The Evangelical Covenant Church seeks to network, educate, and resource Covenant churches so that persons with disabilities and their families are effectively served and fully included in the life and ministries of the ECC and their local communities.”

Evangelical Free Church
EFCA Special Needs Network
“Connect with those in EFCA churches, ministries and partner organizations who have a passion to care for and minister to those with special needs.”

The Episcopal Disability Network
“The Episcopal Church is committed to welcoming all people, spiritually, and physically, which includes becoming more hospitable and accessible to those who are living with disabilities”

Free Methodist Embrace All
“We will improve our reach to the poor and disenfranchised and create a normalcy for multicultural ministry by rewarding and celebrating churches that minister to the hurting, broken and people unlike themselves.”

Friendship Ministries
“Our program model encourages the development of one-on-one, personal, and meaningful relationships: true friendships.”

Joni and Friends
“For the past 40 years, it has been our mission to present the hope of the Gospel to people affected by disability through programs and outreaches around the world. We energize the church, and move people from lack of awareness to embracing people of all abilities into the fabric of worship, fellowship, and outreach. We also train and mentor people with disabilities to exercise their gifts of leadership and service in their churches and communities.”

L’Arche USA
“L’Arche communities in the United States provide homes and workplaces where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers, create inclusive communities of faith and friendship, and transform society through relationships that cross social boundaries. Learn more about who we are.”

Latter-Day Saints
Disability Resources
“Two Purposes: Accepting and Including People with Disabilities”

Lift Disability Network
“Inspiring individuals and families living with disabilities to discover a new vision for their future. “

National Catholic Partnership on Disability
Rooted in Gospel values that affirm the dignity of every person, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) works collaboratively to ensure meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the Church and society.

Orthodox – Arms Open Wide
“This site is simply one person’s effort to bring together disability resources for Orthodox Christians and those interested in Orthodox Christian offerings concerning disability.”

Pentecostal With Disabilities
Blog about Pentecostals living with Disabilities and their families who serve in all different kinds of ministries

Presbyterian Engaging Disability with the Gospel
Mission to North America, Presbyterian Church in America
“Our Mission: To engage people touched by disability with the gospel, for their salvation and spiritual growth and to equip churches to enfold them into all areas of congregational life and ministry.”

Reformed Church in America Disability Concerns
“Our AIM: Accessible, Inclusive, Missional churches where everybody belongs and everybody serves.”

Rejoicing Spirits
“Rejoicing Spirits is an innovative ministry that works to enrich the faith lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends and other supportive community members.”

Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA)
North American Division Disabilities Ministries
“To encourage local congregations to give special attention to individuals with disabilities. We also encourage them to develop programs for witnessing to people with disabilities and make our churches accessible to all.”

UMC Disability Ministries
“We believe that all people, including those with disabilities, are created in the image of God and have sacred worth. We believe that it is vital to the body of Christ to celebrate the spiritual gifts of people with disabilities and incorporate them into the life of the church.”

United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries
“The UCC Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM) envisions a world in which all people are included in the fullness of life because they are created in the image of God.”

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)
Disability & Accessibility
“Unitarian Universalists (UU) are committed to welcoming and affirming people of all abilities.”

“EnabledMuslim, a project of American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP), is an online community for spiritual and practical support for Muslims with disabilities and their loved ones. EnabledMuslim provides Muslims with access to relevant information about their situation and the ability to connect and sustain long-lasting relationships with others who have similar experiences.”

EquallyAble Foundation
“EquallyAble’s mission is to empower people with disabilities globally through inclusion and access to equipment, education, and employment.”

Muhsen: Muslims Understanding and Helping Special Education Needs
“Muhsen is a non – profit umbrella organization serving the community to establish a more inclusive “Special Needs Friendly” environment for our Brothers & Sisters living with Disabilities. Muhsen will advocate, educate, train and implement programs and services nationwide to improve access to Masajid for individuals with Special Needs as well as acceptance and inclusion by the community in all aspects.”

Gesher Disability Resources
“To support individuals with special needs and their families in the Jewish community to lead fuller lives.”

Inclusion Innovations
“Turning good intentions into inclusive faith communities.”

Orthodox Union Yachad, The National Jewish Council on Disabilities (NJCD)
“Our inclusive design aims to ensure persons with diverse abilities their rightful place within the Jewish community, while helping to educate and advocate for a greater understanding, acceptance, outreach, and a pro-disability attitude.”

Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism Disability Rights
“The RAC mobilizes around federal, state, and local legislation; supports and develops congregational leaders; and organizes communities to create a world overflowing with justice, compassion, and peace. As part of a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, our work is completely nonpartisan. ”

Union for Reform Judaism – The Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center
“Reform professionals, lay leaders, youth, clergy, educators and congregants are invited to use the study sessions and resources on this site to develop additional skills, strategies and understanding to make possible the full participation of people with disabilities in early childhood education, B’nai Mitzvah, youth group, congregational trips, worship and every other area of congregational life.”

Adventists Special needs Association
“ASNA exists to support the spiritual, social, physical and emotional needs of people living with disabilities and special needs. ASNA also exists to enable access for disabled people by providing training and awareness resources and workshops.”

American Baptist Resolution on the Church and Ministry with Persons with Disabilities
Statement of the resolution of the American Baptist Church

Catholic Charities Disabilities Services
“We provide services and supports to children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities”

Collaborative on Faith & Disabilities

Disabled Christianity
Discussion of issues related to Christianity/Theology and persons with disabilities.

Educating Toward Full Inclusion in the Body of Christ: People with Disabilities Being Full Members of the Church – Lifelong Faith Publication from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Addresses full inclusion of everyone in the church

Faith Ability

National Catholic Office for the Deaf
“Spread God’s message through the support of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”

Special Needs Inclusion at Church: Where to StartBuilding Faith Publication from Virginia Theological Seminary
Addresses reaching families of special needs children and provides resources for further study

Does your community have resources to share? Let us know at info@religica.org