Certificate in Accessible Ministry Module 1: Introduction to Disability and the Church

Event Date(s): Sat, 2017/09/16 - 9:00am to 3:00pm
Event Type: Tyndale Spiritual Formation Centre

Saturday September 16, 2017

This course provides an overview of ways in which disability has been received and interpreted through history, in society, and in the church. It explores problematic and redemptive images of disability through scripture and then points the way toward communities of belonging, where every member of church communities experiences an environment where their God-given gifts are valued and respected.


Dr. Neil Cudney

Dr. Neil CudneyDr. Cudney serves as Director of Organizational and Spiritual Life with Christian Horizons, the largest provider of developmental services in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Cudney holds BAs in sociology and social work along with a Masters of Theology and a Doctorate of Ministry. He has worked in the field of social services for over 30 years. Dr. Cudney's extensive experience working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and direct support professionals, together with his academic work, give him a holistic perspective when addressing issues relating to disability, theology, and organizational culture.

Andrea Foster

Andrea FosterAndrea is a speaker, writer, and stay-at-home mom of four teenagers. Her two youngest are 13-year-old twin girls diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex at five months old resulting in further diagnoses of epilepsy, autism and global development delay. Andrea and her husband, Kirk, face daily challenges as they raise children with disabilities, but also experience joy in their circumstance. Andrea holds her Master of Science in Education-Disability Studies, (Hon.), BTh. and her ECE (Hon.). Her articles have been published in Testimony magazine, Alliance.ca, ChristianWeek and Huffpost. Andrea is passionate about equipping leaders for ministry with people with disabilities.

Module Outline

9:00am: Welcome

  • Introduce presenter, participants
  • Outcomes of certificate
  • Course objectives


  • What drew you to this course?
  • What are you hoping to learn today?

9:15am: Session 1: Disability and society

  • What is a disability?
  • Models of disability
  • Disability through history
  • Activity: “Which model?” Participants are given texts or images reflecting various perspectives of disability, which they bring to appropriate model posted on the wall.

11:00am: Session 2: Disability and the Bible

Disability in the Old and New Testaments

  • Problematic images
  • Redemptive images

Activity: “Through another’s eyes” In groups, participants examine passages related to disability and seek to draw out potentially problematic or redemptive images they might find in them.

1:30pm: Session 3: Churches of belonging

  • Examples of ways the church has excluded people with disabilities in the past
  • Examples of ways the church has welcomed people with disabilities
  • Toward a new model: Communities of Belonging

Activity: “What is belonging?” Participants think of a time or place that they have experienced belonging and attempt to identify the factors that contributed to this experience.

Video: Brian Doerksen

All Tyndale Events »