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Can We Flourish Together When Some are Left Out? Intellectual Disability and Care in Our Churches

June 24 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Can We Flourish Together

American writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin wrote, “History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us” (I Am Not Your Negro). Our current reality is shaped by the histories that have led us here, and we can’t seek to build a better future without taking seriously where we are now. So thinking about how people with intellectual disabilities should be treated in the church—what our ministries with, to, and from people with disabilities should be like—requires us to think carefully about the past and present in ways that are perhaps unpleasant. Many people with intellectual disabilities, their families, and their caregivers do not presently feel welcome in local congregations because of the history of cultural and social exclusion of those with such disabilities.

Helping people realize they are valued requires our congregations to make clear that they do not simply welcome or accept people with disabilities but recognize that their ministry is insufficient without them. Making sure others feel this is one way of caring for them. In this talk, I’ll explore how such care requires not only repenting for past exclusion but also thinking beyond mere ministries or programming for people with intellectual disabilities. We also must confront the history of exclusion that shapes the reality of their lives beyond church walls and help people get all the resources they need in order to flourish. Only then can we flourish together.

Join for this lecture (in person or by livestream–link added one week before lecture) in which Prof. Timpe will speak about the meaning and benefits of flourishing together in the Church.

Speaker: Kevin Timpe

Sponsored & Hosted by the Calvin Institute on Christian Worship