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WEBINAR: Lessons on Putting Faith to Work

A Conversation about Faith, Disability and Inclusion Resources with Bill Gaventa, M.Div and Joe Timmons

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Bill Gaventa, M.Div., Summer Institute on Theology and Disability, National Collaborative on Faith and Disability, Texas Faith Inclusion Network on Disability
Joe Timmons, Research Fellow, Institute on Community Inclusion

Years ago, Rev. Bill Gaventa said, “in every faith community, there is a scriptural basis for welcome and hospitality.” Over the course of his career, he has worked hard across the country on issues at the intersection of faith, disability and inclusion. He has worked with dozens of congregations of different faiths to promote the lives and value of people with disabilities.

Faith organizations have a unique role supporting job seekers with disabilities. Not only can religious organizations drive inclusion, they also can help prepare people for work.

Special Conversation about Faith, Disability and Inclusion

Joining Rev. Gaventa was Joe Timmons of the Institute on Community Inclusion. Together, they discussed their cutting edge research on the role faith has to play in the lives of diverse communities across the country.

About our Speakers:

Bill Gaventa headshot

Bill Gaventa

Bill Gaventa is currently the Director of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability and the Director of the Collaborative on Faith and Disability, along with consulting and writing roles. He served as Director of Community and Congregational Supports at the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, and Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey until June 30, 2013. He now lives in Waco, Texas. In his role at The Boggs Center, Bill worked on community supports, initiatives in cultural competence, aging/end of life issues, supervision of a program in Clinical Pastoral Education, faith community leadership, and inclusive congregational supports. He has been active in initiatives in workforce development, support of direct care staff, self-directed supports, and staff training.

Joe Timmons head shot

Joe Timmons

Joe Timmons has worked with adolescents and adults with disabilities in rehabilitation and educational settings for over 28 years. Since 2002, he has worked at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) at the University of Minnesota where he does research and provides technical assistance to individuals and organizations focusing on academics and assessment, work and careers, mentoring, and the transition from secondary to postsecondary school settings. Joe has a master’s degree in rehabilitation teaching and is currently completing coursework for a master’s degree in social work.

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the Vice President, Communications, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. As an individual with an acquired invisible disability - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - she writes about the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. From entertainment professionals to presidential campaigns, journalists to philanthropists, she conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible. Behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Appelbaum engages decision makers and creatives to improve the quality and number of authentic, diverse and inclusive presentations of people with disabilities on TV and film so audiences can see people with disabilities as vital contributors in America and around the world. She and her team have consulted on projects with Amazon, Disney/ABC Television, NBCUniversal, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Studios, among others. Appelbaum also enriches the pool of disabled talent in Hollywood by nurturing and connecting them to those who can assist with their careers, both on the creative and business sides of the industry. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which was created to help entertainment professionals to be as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible, and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working behind the camera. To reach her, email

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