Most ministry conferences our Key Ministry team has participated in have been developed by and for church staff or highly committed volunteers. We wanted parents and caregivers to be meaningful participants in Inclusion Fusion and to access speakers and presentations that addressed their concerns and interests. We hope we accomplished both goals this year. Here are a few presentations that I think will be of special interests to parents and caregivers of persons with special needs…
I’d start by watching Chuck Swindoll’s fabulous Keynote address and the interviews Katie Wetherbee conducted with Chuck and his daughter Colleen. The interviews largely focused on the experiences of the Swindoll family in raising and caring for Colleen’s son Jonathan. The video of Chuck and Jonathan is very touching…Chuck clearly has a great relationship with his grandson. The video featuring Jonathan’s siblings…Ashley, Austin and Cody is remarkable. The impact of disabilities on siblings is often overlooked. The Swindoll grandchildren shared from their experiences with great maturity and authenticity.
I’d encourage parents and caregivers to check out Katie Wetherbee’s presentation on Advocating for Your Child at Church. Parents of children with special needs spend countless hours advocating for health and educational support. Advocating for a child at church presents a whole new set of challenges…and some parents find that by Sunday, they’re just too worn out…it’s just easier to stay home. Katie discusses ways to understand a church’s culture, methods of positive, proactive communication, and strategies for making church a successful experience for all involved.
Joe and Cindi Ferrini have walked the walk, developing an exemplary marriage while raising a son with a developmental disability. In their presentation, The Unexpected Journey of Relationships – When Special Needs Change Our Course! the Ferrini’s share lots of practical ideas for strengthening and deepening relationships that will help parents and caregivers cope with the long-term demands of raising a child with special needs.
Barb Dittrich’s presentation, Bathing In The Healing of Forgiveness explores the ways in which lack of forgiveness causes more stress and tension in our lives than we consciously realize. Barb discusses the importance of forgiveness in maintaining healthy relationships between husbands and wives and parents and children in families impacted by special medical, mental health or developmental needs.
Connie Hutchinson shares her personal story of encouragement and hope in her talk, “The Road to Independence.” Connie relates the story of her daughter Julie, a thirty-six year old young woman with Down syndrome. Julie lives alone in her own apartment and is successful due to many support systems in place–her church, regional center, independent living services and a circle of friends. Connie describes Julie’s experiences of being an individual with Down syndrome who has been included in a faith-based community from childhood to adulthood, along with the role the church has played in enriching Julie’s life and in giving her the opportunity to use her spiritual gifts for the benefit of all.
For a complete listing of 2011 Inclusion Fusion Speakers and Topics, click here.
To download any available speaker handouts/Power Point slides, click here.
To access Live Chat with conference presenters, click here.
INCLUSION FUSION NOW EXTENDED THROUGH MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7th! Chuck Swindoll and more than twenty-five ministry leaders are coming together on November 3rd-7th as part of a Special Needs Ministry Web Summit for church staff, volunteers, family members and caregivers everywhere. Inclusion Fusion is a Key Ministry event, presented FREE OF CHARGE with the support of Pajama Conference. Register here for the Summit!