This unit will address theological, liturgical, ethical and pastoral care issues associated with ministry with people with disabilities. Issues of inclusion in faith communities and community-based settings will be explored. Participants will also examine access (attitudes, friendship, legislation, rights, communications and architecture), to gain deeper understanding of resistance to inclusion. Scripture will be examined as a means of reflection on contemporary theological-pastoral issues pertaining to disability. The relationship between faith and healing, from both a personal and social perspective, and emerging theologies about disability will be explored. A site visit will be part of the unit.

Unit code: DP3012P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Critically reflect on perspectives relating to theology and disability.


Identify and describe issues relevant to effective pastoral care and ministry with people with disabilities.


Articulate new learning which enhances the practice of pastoral care with people with disabilities.


Facilitate dialogue and practical responses within faith settings and society.


Develop a critical response to public policy on disability issues and integrate this with guidelines for pastoral practice.

Unit sequence

15 points in Field B, 15 points in Field C and 30 points in Field D.


The subject will utilize a range of teaching methods: didactic, visiting presenters, personal perspectives, discussion groups, journal writing and reflection, a site visit, selected readings and audio-visual mediums. Students will form learning groups where there are shared areas of interest.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Brock, B. & Swinton, J. (eds). Disability in the Christian Tradition: A Reader. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, 2012.
  • Calder, A, and Newell, C. (eds). Voices in Disability and Spirituality from the Land Down Under. New York: Haworth Press, 2004.
  • Carter, E. Including people with Disabilities in Communities of faith: A Guide for Service Providers, Families and Congregations. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing, 2007.
  • Edmonds, M. A Theological Diagnosis: A new Direction on Genetic Therapy, Disability and the Ethics of Healing. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2011.
  • Eiesland, N. and Saliers, D. (eds). Human Disability and the Service of God. Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1998.
  • Gaventa, W. Disability and Spirituality: Recovering Wholeness. Waco, Texas, Baylor University Press, 2018.
  • Melcher, S.J. Parsons M.K. and Yong A. (eds). The Bible and Disability: A Commentary. Waco, Texas, Baylor University Press, 2017.
  • Newell, C. (ed). Exclusion and Embrace – conversations about Spirituality and Disability. UnitingCare Victoria, 2001.
  • Pinsky, M.I. Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability and Inclusion. Vancouver: The Alban Institute, 2012.
  • Reinders, H. Receiving the gift of Friendship: Profound Disability, Theological Anthropology and Ethics. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2008.
  • Reynolds, T. Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2007.
  • Shurley, A.K. Pastoral Care and intellectual Disabilty: A Person-centred approach*. Waco, Texas, Baylor University Press, 2017.
  • Yong, A. The Bible, Disability, and the Church. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, 2011.


  • * Perspectives on Disability*. St Mark's Review. No. 232 July 2015 (2).
  • * Journal of Disability and Religion*, Taylor and Francis.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Research essay – 2500 words

2500 50.0
Book Review

Book review – 1000 words

1000 25.0

Reflective Journal - 1000 words

1000 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 31 Dec, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2019-06-17 07:51:25 +1000