Certificate in Accessible Ministry Module 5: Disability and Theology in the Christian Tradition

 Event Date(s): Sat, 2018/02/10 - 9:00am to 3:00pm
 Event Type: TSFC Events

Saturday February 10, 2018

Online registration now open. You can buy tickets at the bottom of this page, or register on Eventbrite.

Long a neglected field of theological inquiry, the intersection of disability and faith has in recent years become the ground of fruitful research and writing. From yearly institutes on theology and disability to a growing number of books on the topic, this module explores at a practical and interactive level some of the key themes and insights of influential theologians and authors. You will leave this day with a renewed appreciation for theology of the human condition and an awareness of directions for future investigation.


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.

Peter Wyngaarden

Peter WyngaardenPeter serves as Director of Research and Clinical Services with Christian Horizons. He holds a Bachelor of Arts & Science and a Masters of Science (Psychology) from McMaster University. He has worked with persons with disabilities for over 35 years in a variety of direct care, vocational, research and clinical settings. He has worked as a therapist working with children and adults with autism, developmental disabilities and dual diagnoses and also co-developed and ran a support group for siblings of persons with developmental disabilities. Peter has also developed and presented courses and workshops for academic and professional settings on a variety of topics related to developmental disability and service provision.

Module Outline

9:00am: Welcome

  • Introduce presenter, participants
  • Course objectives


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

9:15am: Session 1: Disability and society

  • Anthropology and action: What we believe about people affects how we act.
  • Bioethics and anthropology
    • Mary-Anne Warren
    • Michael Tooley
    • Peter Singer
  • The impact on societal beliefs and expectations

Video: “What makes us human?” Short, relevant clip on the human/android or human/animal distinctives

Activity: “Who said it?” In groups, students examine brief passages/quotations from bioethicists and theologians and line them up with their anthropologic principles.

11:00am: Session 2: Theological anthropology and the imago Dei

How does being created in the image of God change the way humans are viewed in all of our limitation and vulnerability? This section draws from key theologians to explore.

Video: Students watch a half-hour clip from the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability, recording contrasts with the bioethicists in Session 1.

1:30pm: Session 3: Where do we go from here?

What are the future challenges that the church faces at the intersection of disability and faith? How do the insights of disability theologians prepare us to respond to issues such as assisted dying and disability-selective abortion? What is the pastoral response?

Activity: What does it mean to be human? Students work in groups to come up with a brief statement on what it means to be a human being.

Resources: Articles, books, and videos to dive deeper