Imago Dei – Access – October 2023


Watch the videos from Imago Dei – Access – October 2023

Join disabilities researcher Dr. Erik Carter as he moderates a Zoom panel with two people on the spectrum and the parent of a child on the spectrum and consider how churches can create communities of belonging where their voices and experiences are heard and valued. You can watch the full video here.



Dr. Erik Carter works at the intersection of faith and disability and focuses on calling, equipping, and supporting churches to be places of deep embrace and contribution for individuals with disabilities and their families. He is the Luther Sweet Endowed Chair in Disabilities at Baylor University and executive director of the Baylor Center on Developmental Disabilities.


Dr. Elena M. Rhodes attends Servants of Christ Anglican Church in Gainesville, Florida, where she is active in the prayer ministry and serves as an acolyte, chalice bearer, lector, and member of the vestry. Elena is a biological scientist and lab manager at the University of Florida and was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in her early thirties.

James Scannell is an autistic non-speaker who attends Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He learned to use a letter board to communicate in 2020 and collaborates with autism researchers and writers in the UK. He writes a regular column for his church newsletter in which he interviews people with disabilities.

Rev. Joy Unger is a deacon in the ACNA and currently serves at St. Luke’s Church in Copley, Ohio. Joy has a love of studying Scripture, prayer, and caring for the hurt and vulnerable within the church. She’s a certified Stephen Leader and Minister and has trained intercessors to pray with and for others. Joy is the parent to a son with autism.

1. Panel discussion regarding:
How are people with disabilities currently participating in your church and contributing to the vitality of the community? Are there more ways you hope to serve God and contribute to the parish ministry?

2. Panel discussion regarding: 
Have you noticed attitudinal barriers for people with disabilities in your parish, or Anglican parishes in general, and if so, how do you think this might be overcome? 

3. Panel discussion regarding: 
What insights have you learned about God, and yourself, through your experiences as a neurodiverse person or your experience living with someone, who is on the autism spectrum? 

4. Panel discussion regarding:
What do you wish you had known earlier in life as a person with
autism? What do you wish others better understood?

5. Panel discussion regarding:
Are people with disabilities in your parish treated as disciples and not just objects of charity? What does it mean to really belong?

6. Panel discussion regarding: 
As Anglicans, we have a liturgy that appeals to all senses. What are ways that people with disabilities can be visible participants in the liturgy even if they require support?