Minutes from the 2014 Religion and Spirituality Division Forum

Minutes AAIDD Religion and Spirituality Division, June 24, 2014, at the AAIDD National Conference

Present

Anne Masters, Deborah Huggins, Bill Gaventa, Tom VanWingerden, Neil Cudney, David Morstad, Sr. Gabrielle Kowalski, Deborah Fisher, Shelly Christensen.

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda which was emailed to the Religion and Spirituality Division members prior to this business meeting was approved unanimously by all in attendance.

Election

Neil Cudney elected Vice President to serve for 2 years, and then become President in 2016.

Minutes AAIDD Religion and Spirituality Division, June 24, 2014, at the AAIDD National Conference

Present

Anne Masters, Deborah Huggins, Bill Gaventa, Tom VanWingerden, Neil Cudney, David Morstad, Sr. Gabrielle Kowalski, Deborah Fisher, Shelly Christensen.

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda which was emailed to the Religion and Spirituality Division members prior to this business meeting was approved unanimously by all in attendance.

Election

Neil Cudney elected Vice President to serve for 2 years, and then become President in 2016.

Spiritual Support Professional Certification

David Morstad gave update. Two people have been certified, Rick Benjamin and Rosemarie Newberry, MDiv. David will update guidelines for certification. The Certification Committee includes: Catherine Patterson, Sara Rieth and Craig Modahl. Anne will become part of the committee as Past President. Bill suggested inviting Rosemary Newberry to the committee.

Discussion

Debby Fisher asked if the guidelines are person-centered and how do to ensure that chaplains are person centered? It is based on current practices and norms. Previous iterations were chaplain-based; David explained that they were revised to reflect community based guidelines. David, Sister Gabrielle and Anne Masters were on that committee that updated the guidelines. Debby stated that even when an effort is made, chaplains don’t know where to turn when there are people they support whose religious practices are different than their own. Anne said that is in the literature they are required to read. If person centered is not addressed in their papers the certification committee would have to call that out.

Bill said most people go to the American Association of Chaplains for certification. Our “code of conduct” is the AAIDD mission statement. Chaplains going through our certification process have to explain how their ministry is related to the AAIDD. David suggested asking a self-advocate to serve on this committee. Liz Weintraub was suggested. Debby and David offered to speak with her. Bill added that he is officially stepping down from the certification committee as he assumes his new role as AAIDD Vice President. Anne will approach Jenny Hatch to take his place.

Marketing the Certification

Cost of certification is $150. People must also join AAIDD and the Religion and Spirituality Division, which may be costly. We could market at COMMIS, Summer Institute on Theology and Disability, seminaries, and to organizations attending AAIDD conferences. Most seminary graduates find out about certification later. Sr. Gabrielle also mentioned lay leaders who earn an MDiv. We should reach out to seminaries with certificate programs in disability. Can we work with AAIDD’s membership development group to add this to a benefit of membership to AAIDD?. Bill said it’s up to the Divisions and Regions to do this.

Additionally, how does the Division become a resource to provider agencies?

Expanding Collaboration within AAIDD

Neil and Shelly discussed collaborating with other AAIDD divisions and special interest groups (SIGs), and regions after attending the AAIDD Professionals meeting. People were happy to know about R & S. We will consider collaboration with some, particularly Direct Support, aging (Liz Perkins), social work. Quality of life, awareness and contributions are big in both aging and disability services worlds. Maybe do a concurrent session next year. Spiritual supports should be part of all person centered planning.

Division Membership

We spend $900-$1000 a year for COMMIS membership, participation by Rosemary Newberry at COMMIS conference, and providing funding for the Nouwen Award. We earn $600 in rebates from membership.

Discussion on increasing membership in the Division. AAIDD membership has declined as has conference attendance; however it is starting to come up. Perhaps offering additional resources will help increase membership; e.g. Bill and Erik have a 5 session webinar series in planning stages that start in the fall. Bill will follow up with Shelly and Neil about this.

Additional resources

Could we find self-advocates to share stories in each newsletter?

Anne has resources available for on-the-ground for teachers. Deborah Huggins thinks it would be good to have for church leaders. Barbara Newman’s work.

Neil asked: is there a role for the Division to highlight resources that are out there as our website is open.

The Planning Committee will continue to discuss the items raised at the Business Meeting.
Meeting is adjourned at 1:27pm by President Anne Masters.

Respectfully submitted,
Shelly Christensen, Vice President, 6/24/2014

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