The Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN) is sponsoring a Spiritual Life Conference focusing on the needs of developmentally disabled people Oct. 20-22 at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.
LSA-DN is a network of 17 Lutheran organizations that work together to provide services for people with developmental disabilities. LCMS World Relief and Human Care and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are part of the alliance that constitutes LSA and supports all of its networking efforts.
Under the theme “One God, One Call: Celebrating Full Participation,” the conference is designed to “explore how we can work toward fuller inclusion of people with disabilities in the life of the church,” according to Barbara Below, director of Social Ministry Organizations with LCMS World Relief and Human Care and a member of the conference’s planning committee.
People with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, and other mental and/or physical impairments, “actually have spiritual needs and spiritual lives, much as the rest of us do” and many are capable of understanding the Lutheran confessions, teachings of the church, and other aspects of being an active member of a congregation, Below said. “They can participate in the life of the church in all sorts of different ways, and [this conference is] about trying to get individuals and congregations to embrace that.”
The conference is designed for those with developmental disabilities, their families and friends; pastors, teachers, and other professional church workers; social-ministry and fellowship committee members, as well as other congregational leaders; and “anyone who wants to create a more welcoming church environment for persons with disabilities.”
Keynote speakers will be:
Workshops are divided into tracks for religious education, fellowship within the church, leadership within the church, and family and individual support.
Workshops will explore topics such as:
Rev. Dean Nadasdy, senior pastor of Woodbury Lutheran Church, Woodbury, Minn., will lead the closing worship service. Banquet entertainment will be provided by Music Syndrome, a Minneapolis-based musical group whose members are musicians with disabilities.
Individual registration is $200 — or $175 per person for group registration — by Sept. 12, and includes a dessert reception, two continental breakfasts, a lunch, and a banquet. Scholarship assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration forms are available online at www.lutheranservices.org/spirituallifeconference.asp or via the LCMS World Relief and Human Care Web site at www.lcms.org/worldrelief.
For more information, contact Barbara Below at (800) 248-1930, Ext. 1383, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Aug. 28, 2008