Through its interfaith Inclusion In Worship program, Pathways.org provides information, educational materials, and cash grants to promote access and inclusion in worship in houses of faith. The goal is to help worshipping communities welcome individuals of all abilities into full and active participation. The program disburses annual Open Hearts Awards cash grants, promotes the annual Inclusion Awareness Day event with interfaith workbooks of planning materials, exhibits at conferences, conducts educational workshops, maintains a website and distributes online educational videos and downloadable print materials.
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 offers 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 have a designated a staff person or a volunteer to serve as parish Inclusion Representative.
- 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 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.
- Inclusion in Worship, disburses Open Hearts and Junior Open Hearts 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 Open Hearts and Junior Open Hearts Awards have been dispensed across:
- 231 congregations
- 13 states
- Multiple faith traditions
Inclusion Awareness Day
- Annual celebration for congregations to promote inclusion within their faith communities. We offer Inclusion Awareness Day Workbooks with event planning ideas and access and inclusion tools to make worshipping communities more inclusive.
- Inclusion Awareness Day 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.