Impact and History of TEAM W

About

Through its interfaith TEAM W program, Pathways.org provides information, educational materials, and cash grants to promote access and belonging in houses of faith so that every ability may worship. The goal is to help worshipping communities welcome individuals of all abilities into full and active participation. The program disburses annual TEAM W Month Awards cash grants, promotes the annual TEAM W Month with interfaith workbooks of planning materials, exhibits at conferences, conducts educational workshops, maintains a website and distributes online educational videos and downloadable print materials.

Chicago Partnership

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 and the development of a volunteer parish Inclusion Representative program.

  • The Inclusion Representative Program offered a resource manual, phone consultation for volunteers who work with their pastors to create accessible faith communities, email updates and fostering connections between congregations involved in access and inclusion efforts.
  • 165 parishes designated a staff person or a volunteer to serve as parish Inclusion Representative.
  • In conjunction with the Renew My Church movement in the Archdiocese of Chicago and a shift in thinking away from inclusion to welcome and belonging, TEAM W: That Every Ability May Worship was inaugurated.
  • Parishes were encouraged to start a TEAM W Ministry and dedicate a TEAM W month to focus on intentionally welcoming parishioners of all abilities so that a sense of welcome and belonging was conveyed to parishioners of all abilities.

Interfaith Activities

  • Inclusion In Worship panel presentation at the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Inclusion In Worship video produced with the Chicago Board of Rabbis
  • Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago joins Inclusion Awareness Day effort

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 W and Junior Team W cash grants to congregations to help fund projects that make it possible for members of all abilities to participate in their worshipping community.
  • 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, $186,948 in TEAM W and Junior Team W Awards have been dispensed across:
    • 231 congregations
    • 13 states
    • Multiple faith traditions

TEAM W Month

  • Annual celebration for congregations to promote welcoming and belonging within their faith communities. We offer TEAM W Month Workbooks with event planning ideas and access and inclusion tools to make worshipping communities more welcoming.
  • TEAM W Month workbooks are available for Roman Catholic, Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal, and Protestant worshipping communities.

Materials Available in Multiple Languages

  • Downloadable handouts are available in Spanish and Polish.

History

2019

  • Interfaith Inclusion In Worship becomes interfaith TEAM W: That Every Ability May Worship and new website is launched.

2015

  • Posted 3 part video series on Celebrating Inclusion In Worship in a Jewish Synagogue

2014

  • Inclusion in Worship website redesigned

2013

  • Inclusion in Worship videos posted to YouTube

2012

  • Inclusion in Worship Facebook page created

2010

  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Center New York joined annual Inclusion Awareness Day effort

2009

  • Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago joined 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

2008

  • Inclusion In Worship panel presentation at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

2007

  • First annual Inclusion In Worship workshop for Mundelein Seminary second theology students

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 Disabilties 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 MidWinter Conference
  • Episcopal Diocese joined annual Inclusion Awareness Day effort

2002

  • Inclusive Congregation Tool Kit created

2001

  • First 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 produced 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 Doors video produced in partnership with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
  • First annual Inclusion Awareness Day inaugurated in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago