The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Clergy with disabilities train to be mentors

For the first time in ELCA history, clergy with disabilities gathered April 10-12 in Chicago. Event leaders trained some 20 participants from across the U.S. to mentor seminarians and first-call ministers with disabilities.

“God has a plan for all of us,” said participant Mollie King. “I would love to have the opportunity to mentor someone with a disability and encourage them to press on and follow their call to ministry.”

King was one of many who were “overjoyed to talk with [peers] about serving a parish and being disabled,” said Lisa Thogmartin-Cleaver, director for disability ministries, ELCA Vocation and Education.

One frequent issue is that some parishioners may “see you as someone to be taken care of, rather than someone who can care for them,” she said.

Thogmartin-Cleaver publicized the event through synods and the ELCA Web site, since it is illegal for employers to ask people if they are disabled, she said.

To learn about a second training event in spring 2009, e-mail Lisa Thogmartin-Cleaver.


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