Impact and History of TEAM Belong

About

That Every Ability May Belong promotes access and belonging for individuals of all abilities and their families in houses of faith and religious schools. The goal is to help communities of faith move from individuals with disabilities being present to belonging as co-workers. That Every Ability May Belong disburses the annual TEAM Belong Awards cash grants, promotes annual TEAM Belong Month celebrations, exhibits at conferences, conducts educational workshops, maintains a website with online educational videos, a webinar and downloadable print materials.

Chicago Partnerships

Partnership with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago

This partnership resulted in the convening of a conference on Inclusion in Worship on April 26, 1996, the production of the Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors video, the inauguration of parish Inclusion Awareness Days and the Open Hearts Awards grants and the development of a volunteer Inclusion Representative Program.

Parish Representative Program

  • Pastors were asked by their bishops to appoint a Parish Representative to start a ministry to welcome parishioners of all abilities.
  • The Parish Representative Program offered annual Vicariate trainings, a Ministry Handbook of resources, phone consultations, a newsletter, email updates and connecting parish representatives to share expertise from projects they had successfully completed.
  • From its start in 2001 until the Renew My Church initiative began in 2016 over 170 parishes created a continuity in ministry with over 250 volunteer or staff Parish Representatives working with their pastors to create access and belonging for parishioners of differing abilities.

From Inclusion to Belonging

  • In combination with a societal shift away from inclusion to belonging for individuals with disabilities, the name That Every Ability May Belong was adopted in 2020. The outreach to schools received more emphasis and at the request of stakeholders, the annual Awareness Day was expanded into That Every Ability May Belong Month in both schools and parishes.

Partnership with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago

This partnership began with the celebration of Inclusion Awareness Day in parishes in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago.

  • Presentations at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago Clergy Laity Conference and Clergy Association Retreat raised the awareness of religious leaders and clergy to the need for parishes to reach out to welcome indhttps://www.chicago.goarch/team-w/inclusion-awareness-dayividuals with differences.
  • Greek Orthodox parishes applied for and received That Every Ability May Belong Awards to help fund access projects
  • The That Every Ability May Worship Ministry is formally recognized by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago

Interfaith Activities

  • Panel presentation at the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Video produced with the Chicago Board of Rabbis
  • Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago joins Inclusion Awareness Day effort
  • Panel presentation at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago Clergy Laity Retreat
  • Workshop presented at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago Clergy Association Retreat

Videos

  • Videos are posted to YouTube to view free of charge
  • 11 videos posted. Topics include:
    • The Vulnerable Journey with Father Henri Nouwen
    • Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors with Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and Father Henri Nouwen
    • Celebrating Inclusion In Worship in a Jewish Synagogue
  • The Inclusion in Worship videos have been viewed more than 20,000 times since they were posted in May 2013

Cash Grants

  • Inclusion in Worship, disburses TEAM Belong and Junior Team Belong cash grants to congregations to help fund projects that make it possible for members of all abilities to participate in their worshipping community and religious school.
  • Grants of up to $1,000 per grant have been awarded for a variety of projects such as: large print prayer books, automatic door openers, assistive listening devices and modifying washrooms for accessibility.
  • Since 1998, $191,948 in TEAM Belong and Junior Team Belong Awards have been dispensed across:
    • 236 congregations/religious schools,
    • In 13 states,
    • And in Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Protestant and Muslim faith traditions.

TEAM Belong Month

That Every Ability May Belong Month

  • That Every Ability May Belong Month is an annual celebration for congregations and schools to promote belonging for individuals who happen to have disabilities within their faith communities.
  • TEAM Belong Month workbooks, are available for Roman Catholic, Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal, and Protestant worshipping communities.
  • An educational bulletin series, handouts and the TEAM Belong Webinar are also available

Materials Available in Multiple Languages

  • Downloadable handouts are available in Spanish and Polish.

History

2021

  • That Every Ability may Belong webinar is produced.

2020

  • The name That Every Ability May Belong: TEAM Belong is adopted in response to a paradigm shift in thinking from inclusion to belonging for individual with differences and outreach to religious schools is expanded.

2019

  • Interfaith Inclusion In Worship changes name to TEAM W: That Every Ability May Worship and new website is launched.
  • TEAM W is featured on the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Community of Faith radio program on August 8, 2019

2018

  • Inclusion In Worship works in partnership with the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Faith Formation to coordinate Sounding Committee meetings to weave access, inclusion and belonging into the fabric of a re-imagined model of lifelong faith formation for the Archdiocese of Chicago

2017

2016

  • Panel presentation with parish representatives and pastor on the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Community of Faith Radio Show

2015

  • Inclusion in Worship attends the Calvin Institute of Worship Inclusive Worship Symposium to establish ties with Protestant leaders
  • Different Gifts, Same Spirit lesson plans pitched to Loyola Press at the launch of their Adaptive Finding God inclusive faith formation curriculum

2014

  • Inclusion in Worship website redesigned
  • Presentation at the Archdiocese of Chicago Pastoral Leadership Conference for new pastors

2013

  • Exhibit and sponsorship of five Parish Representatives to attend the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability
  • Exhibit and workshop presentation at Archdiocese of Chicago Leadership Day
  • Inclusion in Worship videos posted to YouTube

2012

  • Workshop presentation for Mundelein Seminarian Second Theology Students
  • Inclusion in Worship Facebook page created

2010

  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Center New York joined annual Inclusion Awareness Day effort
  • Exhibit and four workshop presentations at the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic Schools Professional Development Conference

2009

  • Presentations at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago Clergy Laity Conference and Clergy Association Retreat
  • Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago formally joins annual Inclusion Awareness Day effort
  • First Inclusion In Worship workshop at the Mundelein Seminary Institute for Ongoing Formation “Art of Pastoring Conference” for new pastors in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
  • Booth and workshop at the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Festival of Faith

2008

  • Panel presentation at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

2007

  • First annual Inclusion In Worship workshop for Mundelein Seminary second theology students
  • Workshop presentation with a parent and catechist on Including Children with Special Needs at the Archdiocese of Chicago Catechetical Conference
  • First Inclusion Awareness Day in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago

2006

  • Inclusion In Worship exhibit and workshop at the International Henri Nouwen Symposium, Toronto, Canada
  • The Vulnerable Journey and Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors videos released in DVD format as a 10th Anniversary Commemorative set

2005

  • Inclusion In Worship represented the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago Office for Persons with Disabilities at the National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities Summer Institute in New Orleans, LA

2004

  • Inclusion In Worship workshop and exhibit at the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago Annual Convention
  • Episcopal Diocese joined annual Inclusion Awareness Day effort

2003

  • Inclusion In Worship workshop at Evangelical Covenant Church’s Mid-Winter Conference
  • Episcopal Diocese joined annual Inclusion Awareness Day effort

2002

  • Inclusive Congregation Tool Kit created
  • Exhibit, National Association of Lay Ministers Conference

2001

  • First Archdiocese of Chicago Inclusion Representative Gatherings held
  • First Inclusion Awareness Day workbook

2000

  • Junior Open Hearts Awards inaugurated
  • 10 parish video presentations of Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
  • Parish Inclusion Representative program inaugurated and recruitment begins

1999

  • Different Gifts But the Same Spirit lesson plans published by Pathways.org and introduced at Chicago Catechetical Conference
  • 10 parish video presentations of Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
  • White Paper published with National Federation of Priests Councils (NFPC) and distributed to 25,000 priests and religious around the world

1998

  • Open Hearts Awards inaugurated
  • Celebrating Inclusion in Worship in a Jewish Synagogue video produced with Chicago Board of Rabbis and distributed to 200 synagogues. Video tells the story of a young man’s inclusion in his synagogue as he prepares for his bar mitzvah
  • Inclusion In Worship presentation at Chicago Council of Religious Leaders
  • 18 parish video presentations of Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

1997

  • Francis Cardinal George blessed Inclusion In Worship program and Inclusion Awareness Day

1996

  • Interfaith Inclusion in Worship program inaugurated in partnership with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago at the conference on inclusion in worship featuring Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and Father Henri Nouwen
  • Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doorsvideo produced in partnership with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
  • First annual Inclusion Awareness Day inaugurated in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago