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New certificate builds faith communities' disability leadership, inclusion

Pastors, lay leaders and volunteers who support people with disabilities in congregations and other faith settings are now able to upgrade their skills through a new certificate program offered by Martin Luther University College. 

The first course in the Certificate in Disability, Inclusive Ministry and Christian Faith program is called Questioning Ability. It begins in September. Registration is now open through Wilfrid Laurier University’s continuing education department. 

The certificate consists of four courses. Students can sign up for one, two or three courses without having to commit to taking all four. In the final class, students will incorporate what they’ve learned in previous courses to work on a project specific to their setting. An undergraduate degree is not required to obtain the certificate. Luther and Laurier alumni qualify for a 10 per cent discount. For details and to register, visit the certificate web page. 

Rev. Dr. Kristine Lund, Luther’s principal-dean, says the new program is designed to help rostered and lay leaders to create more inclusive communities. 

"People with emotional, intellectual and physical disabilities are often overlooked in terms of church life and leadership," Lund says. "So, we’re delighted to offer these courses to support individuals to develop knowledge and skills to serve their communities." 

The program was created, and is being directed, by Dr. Laura MacGregor, associate professional faculty at Luther. 

"This certificate emerges out of my own experience as the mother of a child with profound disabilities, as well as my academic work," MacGregor says.  

"As a parent, I knew that churches wanted to include my son and family, but often struggled to do so. Research indicated that my experience was not unique," she adds. 

"I am excited to be working with church leadership and staff as part of this certificate, and it is my sincere hope, that together, we can identify ways to create radically welcoming faith communities."

Lund and MacGregor will be available to answer questions about the program during an information webinar noon to 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, August 18. Click here to register. 

Program information 

Dr. Laura MacGregor, lmacgregor@luther.wlu.ca 

Certificate Coordinator 

Media inquiries 

Mirko Petricevic, mpetricevic@luther.wlu.ca  

Director of Communications and Public Affairs 

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