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Pastoral Care and Intellectual Disability
A Person-Centered Approach
Every Christian is called to and gifted for ministry. The church can—and must—engage all of its members if it is to flourish fully. Far too often, persons with intellectual disabilities are excluded. While members with disability are often recipients of the church’s ministry, they are seldom given the opportunity to reciprocate: persons with disability are not always fully empowered to minister.
In Pastoral Care and Intellectual Disability, Anna Katherine Shurley asserts the church’s need for mutuality in pastoral care. While the shape of each person’s vocation is unique, all members of the body of Christ are created for ministry with one another as partners in spiritual care. In a quest for pastoral care that is fundamentally collaborative and fully inclusive, Shurley turns to the psychology of D. W. Winnicott and to Karl Barth’s theology of Christian vocation. From this combination, she crafts person-centered pastoral care for the body of Christ and all its members, with or without intellectual disabilities.
Person-centered pastoral care recognizes that people with intellectual disabilities can and must participate as partners in the church. Faith communities, Shurley suggests, can foster collaborative ministry by nurturing pastoral friendships among its membership. These sacred friendships are spaces in which people share their lives with one another as a truly collaborative practice of care. Through these pastoral friendships mediated by the presence of the Holy Spirit, all of God’s children can live their particular vocations. By engaging person-centered practices of pastoral care, the church strengthens its witness and truly becomes a place of belonging for all people.
Anna Katherine Shurley is a Baptist minister who has served as a chaplain with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She lives with her family in Gulfport, Mississippi, where she currently serves as Director of Youth and Family Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
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Other books by:
Anna Katherine Shurley
Books in Series:
Studies in Religion, Theology, and Disability
Becoming Friends of Time - Disability, Timefullness, and Gentle Discipleship
Disability and World Religions - An Introduction
Disability, Providence, and Ethics - Bridging Gaps, Transforming Lives
Madness - American Protestant Responses to Mental Illness
Pastoral Care and Intellectual Disability - A Person-Centered Approach