7 ways congregations can embrace people with special needs

Faith communities appear to have fallen behind the larger society in their understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities. But research is revealing several ways – beginning with attitudes of love and acceptance – that just about any congregation can be more inclusive.

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What schism? Sexuality issues rarely create serious conflict in congregations

For all the furor whipped up in denominational politics and cultural debates over issues such as same-sex marriage, little evidence exists that they make a critical difference in the vast majority of local congregations. Studies indicate that disputes over gay rights are not a major source of conflict in local churches. Those worshipers for whom issues of sexuality are a major concern tend to gravitate toward houses of worship that embrace their views, researchers note.

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Catholic churches most likely to be on the front lines of issues from abortion to poverty

The nation’s largest religious body is also by far the most likely to have its congregations take to the streets in public demonstrations or lobby the halls of power on moral issues, a new study finds. While Catholics were most active on the abortion issue, they also were more likely than other groups to lobby and demonstrate on a wide range of issues, from combating poverty to advocating for immigration reform.

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David Briggs, a former national writer for The Associated Press who holds a master's degree from Yale Divinity School, is consistently honored among the Top 10 secular religion writers and reporters in North America.

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