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A Vision for Disability and Ministry

The Distillery Season Six

What are the ways that we as a church can learn from people with disabilities? Dr. Erin Rafferty, MDiv '08, is a research fellow in machine intelligence and pastoral care at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey. Raffety uses ethnographic research methods to study congregations. She is currently working on a book on the importance of nurturing and receiving the ministry of people with disabilities in the church, and she has published widely on disability, youth ministry, and congregational leadership. Raffety is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Princeton University, and is a proud parent of a daughter with multiple disabilities.

In this episode, host Sushama Austin-Connor speak with Raffety about her research on persons with disabilities in the church, about how she seeks to use her research to inform deeper, richer pastoral care and conversation within congregations. Raffety's goal is to take seriously the voices, experiences, and contributions of people with disabilities in order to enable the church to connect with, learn from, and better minister to people with disabilities.

Erin Raffety

Guests

Erin Raffety (she/her) is a practical theologian who uses ethnographic research methods to study congregations. At the Center of Theological Inquiry, Raffety is the research fellow in machine intelligence and pastoral care, where she studies how artificial intelligence and video game technology can support spiritual connection for people with disabilities and congregations. She is also the empirical research consultant for the Imagining Church Project and the associate research scholar for the Institute for Youth Ministry, both at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Her book, From Inclusion to Justice: Why Christian Congregations Need Disabled Ministry and Leadership, will be published this year with Baylor University Press. Raffety is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Princeton University, and is a proud parent of a daughter with multiple disabilities.

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