March Message from the President

This summer marks the 135th Annual Meeting of AAIDD. The theme of this year’s conference is, “Inclusive Communities: Pathways to Realizing that Vision.” We in the Religion and Spirituality Division, have a great deal to offer on this topic. However, we need you to come, interact with presenters and share the message of the importance of faith group participation for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as an excellent means of facilitating real inclusion into the community.

This summer marks the 135th Annual Meeting of AAIDD. The theme of this year’s conference is, “Inclusive Communities: Pathways to Realizing that Vision.” We in the Religion and Spirituality Division, have a great deal to offer on this topic. However, we need you to come, interact with presenters and share the message of the importance of faith group participation for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as an excellent means of facilitating real inclusion into the community. Without our presence, I fear this important aspect of people’s lives could be overlooked. So please come and make your presence felt!

An added benefit of attending the Annual Meeting this year is that Dr. Hans Reinders will be providing several presentations. He is an insightful theologian and philosopher with significant experience in the world of disability. Dr. Reinders is well known for his books, “The Future of the Disabled in Liberal Society: An Ethical Analysis” and “Receiving the Gift of Friendship: Profound Disability, Theological Anthropology and Ethics.” His books are “must reads” and I guarantee that you will be challenged. We are hoping that members of our division will have the opportunity of enjoying a presentation just for our group on the final day of the conference. Our plan is that we will have a brief business meeting in the morning, followed by several hours with Dr. Reinders. You will not want to miss this opportunity to hear from one of the most important thinkers in Religion/Spirituality and disability in the world!

I also look forward to meeting with you at the conference. Bill Gaventa has been instrumental in facilitating many positive changes related to membership, not the least of which is this newsletter which is beautifully put together by Christopher Phillips. We want to hear back from you about these developments as well as how the Division can best serve you. So stop by and let us know!

Blessings, Jeff McNair

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