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Workshop on community building for spiritual care and human service professionals slated

Pastors, church leaders, youth ministers, parish nurses, chaplains, social workers and counselors are invited to attend a workshop on identifying and incorporating the gifts and talents of those with developmental disabilities. The event will be held Tuesday, April 24 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Winebrenner Theological Seminary, 950 N. Main St., Findlay. Continuing education credits will be offered to those in attendance.

The event will discuss how to envision congregations which include persons with developmental disabilities in the life and work of the faith community. Topics include framing the way we view “consumers” of human services by countering issues of stigma and marginalization, exploring a strength-based approach to building communities and congregations where everyone belongs, and enhancing hospitality and contribution of each individual’s gift.

“The Spiritual Care Workshop will emphasize the need for persons with developmental disabilities to experience life as community members, and it will focus on all aspects of the individual including mind, body and spirit,” says Connie Ament, superintendent of Blanchard Valley Center (BVC). “This approach matches BVC’s mission of individuals participating in learning, working, living and playing in the community. We are thankful that this event continues to support the integration of individuals with developmental disabilities into the Hancock County community.”

The workshop will be led by Bill Gaventa, MDiv, who currently serves as the director of community and congregational support at the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Gaventa says, “Building inclusive congregations and communities with people with disabilities and their families is an opportunity to have a profound impact on the lives of many. It means seeing everyone’s gifts, as well as developing new understandings of pastoral and professional roles and new possibilities of living out the best of what clergy and human service professionals preach and practice.”

This event is funded by the Spiritual Care Endowment, an endowed fund of the Blanchard Valley Health Foundation made possible by the Great Lakes Conference of the Churches of God.

Registration is required and must be made by April 15. Call Blanchard Valley Hospital Spiritual Care at 419-429-6463 or visit to fill out a registration form.