Hartford Seminary

Building A Longer Table: Embracing the Disability Community

The history of the faith community’s interaction with the disability community has been an ambiguous one. The church has often supported social structure and attitudes that isolate and treat people with disabilities with paternalism, often without realizing it.

Today many denominations and local congregations realize that facilities should be constructed or altered to be physically accessible to encourage the presence of the disability community. Yet, more work needs to be done to actually embrace disabled people into full participation in congregational life. All people need and seek connections, all people need love to grow. People with disabilities have gifts to bring to the table and seek to affirm their dignity and self-understanding through worship and participation in church life.

Building a Longer Table: Embracing the Disability Community will provide a look at the Register buttondifference between accommodating, inclusion and embracing the disability community.

Building a Longer Table will explore accessible theological methods that will provide two-way access. The disability community must gain access to the social-symbolic life of the church, and the church must gain access to the social-symbolic lives of the disability community. Topics covered in this presentation include:

  • Disabling theology
  • Barriers to a loving community
  • Integrating disability culture into congregational life
  • Supporting loving justice

There will be time for reflection and question/answer time. This workshop was created to be a starting place toward embracing the transformation that will occur when you build a longer table and we are all welcomed with a sacred invitation into our faith communities.

THIS EVENT WILL BE INTERPRETED FOR THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING COMMUNITY. PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU NEED OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS. Email Susan Schoenberger at sschoenberger@hartsem.edu

About the Workshop Leader

Candace Low is the principal of Candace Low Consulting Services, helping faith communities become inclusive to the disability community. Candace is the former Executive Director of Independence Unlimited, a non-profit providing advocacy and support services to persons with disabilities and their families in Hartford, CT. She is chair of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, Accessibility Task Force and a member of the CT statewide UCC Disabilities Ministries.

Candace has been an advocate for disability rights and a trainer on disability legislation and independent living related issues for over 35 years. She has provided congregations with technical assistance on disability issues for over 35 years and worked with a variety of Christian, Islamic and Jewish congregations. Candace is a graduate of Hartford Seminary with an emphasis on spirituality and worship. She is a survivor of an acquired brain injury which caused multiple disabilities including deafness.  Candace is committed to social justice and full inclusion for everyone.

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