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Community and Internet Resources

Community: Religious or Spiritual Ministry


SAMHSA's Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with Mental Health (ADS Center) web page provides information, brochures, fact sheets, books, articles, research and additional resources to help faith-based communities - both clergy and congregants - increase their awareness of mental health issues and find ways to welcome and support people with mental illnesses, thus reducing discrimination and stigma.

American Association for Mental Retardation Religion & Spirituality Division is an interfaith network of members who share resources and collaborate with other organizations involved in religious services with people with disabilities and their families. The organization works with all divisions of the AAMR to enhance supports to people with developmental disabilities. The website gives a listing of the committee members from various religious denominations.

Anabaptist Disabilities Network, Inc. (ADNet) mission is to provide encouragement and resources to congregations, families and people with disabilities as they identify and embrace their God-given gifts and abilities in ministry to each other and to the larger church. ADNet was formed out of a vision of family members, friends, and persons with disabilities, including mental illness, to establish a permanent national resource and support network for Mennonites and related groups.

Bethesda Institute is an extension of the Bethesda Lutheran Homes and Services that provides resources worldwide, resource and educational materials, information on health care facilities, Staff Development Catalog, Special Religious Education Catalog, workshops, and referrals to families of people with developmental disabilities, pastors, volunteers, teachers and professionals in the field of developmental disabilities. Contact the NCRC: Bethesda Lutheran Homes and Services, Inc, 600 Hoffmann Drive, Watertown, WI 53094, or call 1.800.369.4636, ext. 3418, or fax 920.262.6513 or e-mail Bethesda.Institute@mailblc.org

Boggs Center or the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities provides community and student training and technical assistance, conducts research and model demonstrations, disseminates educational materials, and responds to requests for information, conducts community service activities for or with individuals with developmental disabilities, family members, professionals, paraprofessionals, students, and volunteers. One of their many projects is "Inclusive Ministries", which encourages congregations to include and support members with disabilities. Its Project Director, Bill Gaventa, also participates frequently in N.O.D. Religion and Disability initiatives. The Boggs Center is part of a national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service sponsored by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Boggs Center of the UMDNJ is located at Liberty Plaza, 335 George Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2688, or call (732) 235-9300.

Center for Religion and Disability Inc. is a 501(c)(3) educational organization. This organization enables graduate schools of theology and congregations to more effectively include people with disabilities and provide resources and educational development about ministry, disability and the total learning environment. Another program, BUILDING COMMUNITY SUPPORTS, facilitates systemic change within faith communities that benefits people with disabilities and their families. The Center for Religion and Disability, Inc. is located at 1780 Indian Hill Road, Pelham, AL 35124-1204. Contact this organization by e-mail at abilities@religionanddisability.org.

Christian Council for People with Disabilities (CCPD) advocates an evangelical perspective regarding people with disabilities and their part in God's world. The CCPD is a network of Christian organizations working in disability ministry. They provide a platform and sounding board for one to communicate and interact with other leaders interested in promoting the spiritual well being of people who have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. They provide service as leaders and as persons who have disabilities The site offers a survey to help determine the level of accessibility of a congregation -- a good introduction to a congregation just starting to identify barriers that must be removed for greater accessibility.

Congregational Resources: Congregational Resource Guide: Specialized Ministries: Disabilities A truly accessible congregation includes all people in worship, ongoing education, and congregational ministry. Learn how your congregation can become more accessible to people with disabilities with the many resources listed on this page. For more information, see their guide on Accessible Building Issues or their guide on Congregational Vitality: Inclusion and Welcoming.

DISC! Disability Concerns is a program from the United Methodist Church Committee on Relief (UMCOR) which is part of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. DISC is for persons living with physically or mentally challenging conditions, their friends, families, caretakers, lay associates, and clergy. They offer information related to disability concerns, yet add the dimension of spiritual care. They have material on developmental disabilities, mental illness, creative writing by or related to persons with disabilities, a discussion board and resources in the area of disability ministry for both individuals and faith communities their web site and email list. This website offers interfaith resource lists, articles and information about congregational access for people with disabilities. Accessibility & Inclusion, an Interfaith Resource List, is offered by the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church Visit this website for a great list of books, accessibility checklists, and guides for any group to become more welcoming to and provide access for people with disabilities.

Joni and Friends is the disability outreach of Joni Eareckson Tada. It is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community. The ministry assists local churches in reaching out to disabled persons and their families. Joni and Friends offers products on disability ministry curriculum/training materials. In addition, several programs are offered, including Wheels for the World (refurbishing wheelchairs for delivery overseas); Family Retreats (for families coping with disability); and Special Delivery (care packages for persons with disabilities). Contact Joni and Friends at PO Box 3333, Agoura Hills, CA 91376-3333, or call 818 -707-5664, FAX 818-707-2391 or TTY 818-707-9707.

Mental Health Ministries is an ecumenical, interfaith outreach through the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church. Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder is the coordinator of Mental Health Ministries and there is a nine member Advisory Committee. Their mission is to educate faith leaders and lay persons for the purpose of decreasing the stigma associated with mental illnesses in our faith communities. Providing resources to faith communities to develop a mental health program appropriate to each congregation is the important first step in the inclusion and support of persons with mental illnesses and their families into the life of that community. Mental Health Ministries has also produced a video, "Creating Caring Congregations" that was named a finalist in the 24th Annual Telly Awards in the Religious Program category. The Telly Award demonstrates that a video has met a high standard of excellence.

More Than Just Ramps explores awareness of churches and congregations about the inclusion of people with disabilities. Take their poll about your church's ADA accessibility compliance.

National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry (NAfIM) promotes the full inclusion of people with mental retardation in the Catholic Church. Its mission is to provide a forum for those in ministry with persons with mental retardation. The National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry is a nonprofit membership organization of persons with and without disabilities working and praying together for the good of the whole Church to realize justice for persons of all abilities in the parish and in religious, social and civic life. NAfIM is located at PO Box 218 Riverdale, MD 20738-0218 or call 301-699-9500 Toll-free: 1-800-736-1280 or e-mail qnafim@aol.com

National Catholic Partnership on Disability NCPD is the disability voice of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. NCPD was established in 1982 to further implementation of the 1978 Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities, which calls for full inclusion of all persons with disabilities in the Church and in society–a vision they are still working urgently to achieve. They publish a newsletter, offer various information resources and present Catholic perspectives on disability issues. They urge you to join them in the quest for full inclusion and see what they can do together! A resource service provides relevant publications such as guides to creating access and awareness, a practical, 58-page user-friendly guide to the requirements for church entities of the landmark civil rights legislation for people with disabilities, and the Americans with Disabilities Act and other timely issues. The National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) is located at 415 Michigan Avenue NE, Suite 95, Washington, DC 20017-4501. Telephone 202-529-2933, FAX 202-529-4678, TTY 202-529-2934 or e-mail at ncpd@ncpd.org

Pathways to Promise, Ministry and Mental Illness is an interfaith technical assistance and resource center which offers liturgical and educational materials, program models, and networking information to promote a caring ministry with people with mental illness and their families. These resources are used by people at all levels of faith group structures from local congregations to regional and national staff. Their interactive site is designed for clergy and people in local congregations to learn what to do when a person with mental illness or a family member comes for help or simply makes his or her presence known (see Pastoral Crisis Intervention), what activities and programs can be developed in congregations that are supportive of people with mental illness and/or their families (see Helping the Family), what agencies and organizations have helpful resources and referral information (see Resources). Contact Pathways to Promise at 5400 Arsenal Street, St. Louis, MO 63139, FAX: (314) 877-6405 or e-mail: pathways@mimh.edu

Rest Ministries, Inc. is a non-profit Christian organization that exists to serve people who live with chronic illness or pain, and their families, by providing spiritual, emotional, relational, and practical support through a variety of resources, including Hope Keepers Magazine, Bible studies and small group materials. They also provide an awareness in regard to how people who live with chronic illness or pain are served, and teach churches effective ministry tools in ministering to this population in the hope of providing a change in action throughout churches in the U.S. This organization sponsors the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.

State Listings


Council for Jews with Special Needs, Inc. enriches the lives of individuals who have disabilities by facilitating their participation in the Jewish community. This organization offers both integrated and specialized programming, family support groups, information and referral, community education and effective networking with other Jewish agencies to achieve full accessibility for Jewish children and young adults with disabilities.The Council for Jews with Special Needs is located at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 205, Scottsdale, Arizona 85254-5453. Phone: (480) 629-5343, Fax: (480) 629-5365, or TTY: (480)629-8271. Contact by e-mail at info@cjsn.org


Atlanta Alliance on Developmental Disabilities' mission is to increase opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to actively participate in and receive support from the faith community as well as other groups. This agency sponsors the Interfaith Disabilities Network Mark C. Crenshaw, Director. This Interfaith Disabilities Network offers a list of welcoming congregations, Congregational resources for including people with various disabilities and education and training. AADD is located at 1440 Dutch Valley Place - Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30324-5302, (404)881-9777x231 or e-mail mark@aadd.org


Virginia Interfaith Committee on Mental Illness Ministries mission is to educate clergy and laity toward an awareness and sensitivity within the faith communities about mental illness. VICOMIM offers programs, assistance, and resources to faith communities developing their own programs for ministry with persons with mental illness and their families. It also offers courses and resources to help congregations and people with disabilities. Office of Lay Life & Work, Disabilities, and Older Adults at: P.O. Box 1719, Glen Allen, VA 23060; phone: 1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100; fax (804) 521-1178; e-mail vicomim@gmail.com.


New Sign Holy Communion Lutheran Church Gentle Worship: Sunday Morning Church Isn't for Everyone. You probably know them: the family for whom worship has become next to impossible. They have a child with autism, a spouse with Alzheimer's, someone with severe hearing loss. Perhaps it's a person who feels self-conscious about their oxygen tank. Whether we like it or not, these folks often feel like they are on the outside looking in. Please let them know about a new opportunity for them: Gentle Worship. Beginning October 6, there will be a worship service for families with individuals who are challenged by special needs or otherwise "on the edge" each first Saturday of the month. The casual, 30 minute service will start at 4:00 PM, and will feature familiar songs as well as Holy Communion. The service will also be signed. Gentle Worship will take place at the Northwest Campus of Holy Communion Lutheran Church, 5040 Northwestern Ave. in Racine, Wisconsin (Highway 38, just west of Highway 31). If you have any questions, you can contact Pastor Walter Hermanns, (262) 632-8802, or pastorwalter@yahoo.com

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[Created May 31, 2006, Updated April 28, 2014]
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