Faith and Flourishing: Embracing Inclusion for People with Disabilities, Their Families, and Congregations

Date: April 22, 2016
Location: Christ Presbyterian Church
Address: 2323 Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville, TN 37215
Co-Hosted by:

Sponsored by: AnthemDown Syndrome Association of Middle TennesseeSRVS, and Tennessee DD Council






For information on sponsoring, contact Dawn Brown at or 202-509-9596.

Who Should Attend?

  • Clergy, Congregation Leaders, Lay-Leaders and Members
  • Parents and Family Members
  • Self-Advocates
  • Adult Service Providers
  • Educators
  • University/Divinity Students and Faculty

This TASH regional conference is for all people interested in helping people with disabilities, their family members, and faith communities flourish together. A spiritual home can meet important needs that otherwise go unmet and by working together, all stakeholders – self-advocates, family members, clergy, congregants, university students and faculty, and disability professionals – can find greater meaning, discover solutions to old problems, and reveal new and important talents. Come to learn and be inspired to put lessons into action.

Workshop Schedule

8:00 am | Registration, Coffee, and Networking

8:45 – 9:00 am | Sanctuary | Welcome Remarks – Casey Cramer, CPC’s Children’s Pastor

9:00 am – 12:00 pm | Sanctuary | Morning Plenary Session

Keynote: Incomplete Without You: Welcoming People with Disabilities and Their Families Well – Erik Carter, Professor of Special Education, Vanderbilt University

During this keynote, Dr. Carter will challenge faith communities to become places of rich hospitality and deep belonging for people with disabilities and their families. He will address why congregations are called to be leaders in inclusive practices and will offer a framework for what it might look like to move forward in this area of ministry. In addition, he will highlight ways in which faith communities might work in partnership with service systems to support people with disabilities to flourish in all aspects of life.

Talks: Presenters will each provide a TED-like 20 minute overview and suggest ways other stakeholders (parents, adult service providers, self advocates and state agencies) can work together to intentionally include people with disabilities and their families as engaged and contributing members of faith communities.

Afternoon Overview: Choosing your workshops – Barb Trader, TASH Executive Director

During this portion of the plenary, Barb Trader will provide an overview of the afternoon schedule, and how to choose the right afternoon workshops depending on individual interests.

12:00 – 1:15 pm | Sanctuary | Working Lunch Panel  Facilitated by Matt Curcio. 
Panel of Self Advocates and Advocates discussing inclusion in faith communities success stories.- Tammy Vice, Janet Shouse, Lorri Mabry. 

Lunch will be provided. Participants will grab their lunch at the Sanctuary lobby and return to the Sanctuary to begin the panel discussion.

1:15 – 2:15 pm | How-to Workshops
Attendees will learn information they can apply immediately – Choose one of the following:

  1. Meeting in the Middle: How Faith Leaders and Family Members Can Work Together for Inclusion | Choir Amphitheater | Amy Fenton-Lee This Workshop has been cancelled due to illness. We will organize a webinar in the near future which will be free for all conference attendees. Stay tuned!  
  2. Breaking Down the Barriers for Inclusion in Faith Communities | Gathering Room | Brianna Griffin
  3. Putting Faith to Work: Empowering Congregations to Support People with Disabilities to Find Good Jobs | Meeting Room | Bill Gaventa, Carolyn Meyer, Wendy Clydesdale & Courtney Taylor | Presentation Archive
  4. Self-advocates in the Faith Community | Window Room | Pam Harmon & Sloane Cargen
  5. Strategies to Promote the Inclusion of Children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities | Conference Room | Whitney Loring | Presentation Archive 

2:15 pm | Break and Networking

2:30 – 3:30 pm | How-to Workshops
Attendees will learn information they can apply immediately – Choose one of the following:

  1. Start With Hello! Introducing Your Church to Special Needs Ministry | Choir Amphitheater |Rev. Peter McKechnie
  2. Spirituality in Inclusive Postsecondary Programs | Gathering Room| Mallory Whitmore|Presentation Archive
  3. Special Education and Christian Schools: The Why & How | Window Room | Julie Lane | Presentation Archive 
  4. Stirring the Soul with Stories of Inclusion | Sanctuary | Gail Fanjoy | Presentation Archive 
  5. Designing Supports for People to Flourish | Conference Room | Jackie Mills-Fernald |  Presentation Archive
  6. What Does the Research Say about Inclusive Congregations? | Meeting Room | Melinda Ault | Presentation Archive

3:45 pm | Sanctuary | Wrap Up
What will we commit to? – Erik Carter                   

Online Registration     Paper Registration