South Dakota

Perfect Love Casts out Fear: Exploring the Effectiveness of a Person-Centered Disability Awareness Seminar in a Congregational Setting

Joshua H Jones D.Min.
People with disabilities and their families frequently experience barriers toward inclusion and belonging in multiple spheres of life. These barriers are also present in Christian congregations. However, many congregations express a godly desire to love people with disabilities and their families without these obstacles.

The Old and New Testaments provide examples of how God’s people sought to love people with disabilities in their midst creatively and intentionally in response to God’s gracious actions, invitation, and command. Recent research in disability studies routinely highlight the necessity of being attentive to the uniqueness of each person with disabilities and his or her family. Recent work in the realm of sanctification also encourages Christians to practice active righteousness and vocation with an emphasis upon loving specific neighbors.

In light of current research, this project attempted to better understand the effects of a person-centered disability awareness seminar about the pastor’s own child in a single congregation using a mixed methods approach. A pretest posttest design was used in the quantitative phase of the research utilizing the Multidimensional Attitudes Scale Toward Persons with Disabilities (MAS) to measure attitudes (N = 42). A focus group was used in the qualitative phase of research (N = 7). Results suggest a person-centered disability awareness seminar can be an effective way to improve attitudes and relational engagement in a congregational setting.

Exile and identity: the use of salvation oracles in Ezekiel to facilitate exploration of self-identity in a cross-cultural setting

Rhoda A Carpenter
The project was a revisiting of the God-People-Land triangle in a twenty-first-century exilic context. It was designed to explore the concept of self-identity in two separate small group settings: the Reform Jewish community in Sioux Falls, S.D., and the Palestinian Christian community. Miroslav Volf's research on reconciliation supported the exploration of self-identity as a foundation in the journey towards reconciliation. Salvation Oracles in Ezekiel were utilized to facilitate discussion of the relationship between identity and land. While the identity of both groups was deeply tied to the land of the Bible, the priority of people over land was affirmed.
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