Welcome to the Religion and Spirituality Division of the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, where we work to foster opportunities for spiritual growth for person with disabilities.

Religion and Spirituality Division of the AAIDD Logo

Message from the President: Shelly Christensen, September 2014


I’m Shelly Christensen, the new President of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) Religion and Spirituality (R & S) Division. I have worked in the spiritual supports field for over 13 years directing the Jewish Community Inclusion Program for People with Disabilities at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis. In May I left JFCS to focus on my work in other communities. As we all know, there is much to do to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they may contribute to their own faith communities and share their gifts with others.

Member Spotlight: The Rev. Rosemarie Newberry

The Rev. Rosemarie Newberry is one of the Division’s recently certified Spiritual Supports Professionals and also the Division’s representative to the Congress on Ministries in Specialized Settings (COMMISS), a collaborative network bringing pastoral care and counseling networks, faith groups that endorse chaplains, and others.

2014 CMS Regulations, Religion and Spirituality: A preview of our Panel Presentation at the Louisville Conference

by Deborah Fisher, Psy.D., Strategic Initiatives Consultant to the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) released new regulations governing Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers in 2014. These represent an important shift in the services delivery model. Focused now on Person-Directed Outcomes, these regulations reflect the collective legislative and judicial wisdom of the ADA and Olmstead decision.

Barbara J. Newman is the Henri J. Nouwen Award Honoree

The Executive Committee of the Religion and Spirituality Division had a wonderful problem on our hands. For the first time that any of us could remember, we had more than one nominee for the Henri J. Nouwen Award! Five tremendously talented and passionate people were nominated and each one is a role model who inspires others in so many ways. How fortunate our faith communities are to have such devoted and committed individuals serving them in a variety of capacities.

April 2015 Message from the Division President: Shelly Christensen, AM

Welcome to the April 2015 edition of the Religion and Spirituality Division of AAIDD news. We are having a busy and productive year with our partnership with the National Collaborative on Faith and Disability Network Webinar Series.

Minutes from the 2014 Religion and Spirituality Division Forum

Minutes AAIDD Religion and Spirituality Division, June 24, 2014, at the AAIDD National Conference


Anne Masters, Deborah Huggins, Bill Gaventa, Tom VanWingerden, Neil Cudney, David Morstad, Sr. Gabrielle Kowalski, Deborah Fisher, Shelly Christensen.

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda which was emailed to the Religion and Spirituality Division members prior to this business meeting was approved unanimously by all in attendance.


Neil Cudney elected Vice President to serve for 2 years, and then become President in 2016.

2014 AAIDD Religion and Spirituality Division Forum

You can participate live in the 2014 AAIDD Religion and Spirituality Division Forum through the video below!

Tune in from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM on Thursday, June 26th 2014. More information about the business meeting is available here.

Message from the President: Anne Masters, June 2014 Pre-Conference Edition!

Dear Friends,

This will be the last newsletter before the annual meeting in Orlando, FL June 23-26 and it is focused on preparation for it. It is also my last letter as president of the division. It has been an honor to serve you in this capacity.

Message from the President: Anne Masters, April 2014

I hope this newsletter finds you well.

This year’s annual meeting in Orlando, FL June 23-26 will be another excellent opportunity for learning, sharing and networking. Check out all the great sessions planned. Below is list of division activities:

  • Division business meeting will be during lunch on Tuesday June 24th. You may purchase lunch within conference registration.

An Embarrassment of Riches! Key Ministry Website and Related Resources Review

Another web-based resource in the area of disability ministry services has been brought to my attention and I felt our “Gleanings Family” would enjoy knowing more about it. Bill Gaventa and I would also like to encourage any readers who have found resources that they would like to write about or refer to me (Don Healy DE-Healy@wiu.edu) for purposes of review to contact us anytime.

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