How it Works

​ Reconciliation With Bodies of Differing Abilities: Walking towards Wholeness Together

​The Rev. Claire Wimbush, who was born with spastic cerebral palsy, wonders what it means to be a Christian with a disability. In this 10-minute video, she explains why the wounded body of Jesus shows us a kind of wholeness that does not depend on physical perfection.
Find the text version of Claire's story at Faith and Leadership.

Life Inside Friendship House

​In each apartment suite, three seminary students live with one “friend resident”— a young adult with an I/DD.  

These young adults have formerly lived at home with their parents.  While living in Friendship House, they are expected to have part-time jobs or significant volunteer work in the community, care for themselves, be a friend to seminarians, and keep growing in independent living skills.

The seminarians go their classes, participate in field education opportunities and have part-time jobs. They also share the experience of participating in programs together like Reality Ministries in Durham, or Compassionate Heart Ministry near Holland or other opportunities set up by local churches where friendship, fun, food and faith are all valued.
The students and friends will come and go and interact like roommates anywhere.  Picture a four bedroom apartment that has a living room, dining room and kitchen.  The friend resident has their own private bedroom with a bathroom.
A resident director guides the life of the Friendship House around the themes of Eat Together, Pray Together, Celebrate Together!  And there is plenty of time for fun: friendly games of kickball, holiday parties, day trips, scavenger hunts, and potlucks. 

Research has shown that most religious communities don’t understand the barriers that exist in the church for people with disabilities. Fear, lack of understanding, and prejudice prevent individuals with a disability from fully participating in church life.

Friendship House is raising awareness and educating future church and community leaders so that they are prepared to advocate and make sure that everyone with a disability experiences what one church has adopted as its motto:  Everyone belongs—Everyone Serves.

Click below to download the Disability and Theological Education Self-assessment Tool that is provided by the Association of Theological Schools as advice and counsel to its member seminaries.