A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities
May be shown locally: 12/6/2009

Making faith communities more accessible to persons with disabilities is the topic of a unique interfaith documentary that will air on ABC-TV affiliates nationwide beginning December 6.


A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities is presented by the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC), a coalition of Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic faith groups, as part of ABC’s 2009 Vision and Values series. 


The issue addressed by the program is critical, as it is estimated that 1 out of 5 Americans has a disability, says The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.  In the documentary, Kinnamon notes that both the faith community and the persons with disabilities lose when special needs aren’t properly addressed.

“There’s no substitute for face-to-face faith interaction,” Kinnamon reminds the viewers, noting that faith groups, of all the organizations in society, should be at the forefront of facilitating the full participation of those with disabilities in every aspect of community life.

Other faith leaders contributing include: Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, Bishop Peggy Johnson of the United Methodist Church; Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America; Rev. Bill Gaventa, Director of Community and Congregational Supports at The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. 

Others interviewed include Rev. Bill Bixby, Director Of Youth Ministry, ELCA; Imam Mohamed Magid, Executive Director, All Dulles Area Muslim Society and Rabbi Robert Levine, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, New York.

The documentary also features Rabbi Darby Leigh, spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Keshet in New Jersey and one of the handful of deaf rabbis in the world; members of ELCA’s DAYLE program where Definitely Abled Youth gather at the 40,000 strong triennial Evangelical Lutheran youth gathering; Pastor Beth Lockard, the leader of Christ the King Deaf Church; and Brandon Kaplan, a severely disabled boy with limited sight and speech who recently had the privilege of becoming a Bar Mitzvah.

ABC stations will begin airing the program at local times on December 6, 2009 as part of ABC’s Vision and Values series, in cooperation with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC). The documentary is produced by Debra Gonsher Vinik. Check your local stations for time. A trailer can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwCM2vtx42Q.