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Looking for Families and Congregations to Participate in New research study on Ministry with People with Disabilities (June 2019-Jan 2020)


My name is Rev. Dr. Erin Raffety and I’m a cultural anthropologist and a pastor who studies disability and ministry. This year, I’m leading a research project (along with five research assistants) in order to learn from families with persons with disabilities about how congregations can improve pastoral care and ministry with people with disabilities. We’re looking for families and congregations in the central NJ/Philadelphia/New York City area that are willing to participate together in this study from approximately June 2019-January 2020. We plan to visit congregations over the summer (June-July) and conduct visits with families in their homes between August and December (5 months). We envision spending 2-5 hours with congregations per month in June to July and 2-5 hours with families per month between August and December. Our research is qualitative and participatory, meaning that it should pose little disruption to you—our goal is to simply participate with and observe what families and congregations are currently up to in their daily lives and ministry! In January 2020, we’d like to present what we’ve learned in our research to your congregation and host a pastoral care workshop (at our expense) in order to celebrate and enhance your congregation’s ministry. This research is approved by the Institutional Review Board for human subjects research, sponsored by a Project Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute, and all researchers are trained and skilled in working with persons with disabilities and congregations.
If you’re a family or a person with a disability who has experiences to share or a pastor or a congregational leader who has families who are willing to participate, please reach out to me, Rev. Dr. Erin Raffety at by March 25, 2019. We’ll be interviewing interested parties in April and May in order to finalize a group of 8-10 congregations and families to participate in the study from June 2019-January 2020.


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