Friday, February 01, 2008

How to Create a Religious Following

Some time back I was tasked to find an appropriate group home for my kid who has a developmental disability. We checked out some of the places we were referred to, but he eventually was allowed to stay in the foster home of his choice.

One of the homes we looked at was run by Good Shepherd Communities, which operates group homes throughout the state of Oregon. I knew they are a Lutheran based organization, but there was no mention of them being religion driven.

Today I received a Google alert with the keywords being "Portland developmental disability problem" and found the following as a Help Wanted ad. It would seem that DHS is funding religious organizations. Whatever happened to separation of Church and State??

Parish Ministry Consultant

Company: Good Shepherd Communities

Location: US-OR-Portland
Base Pay: N/A
Employee Type: Full-Time Employee
Industry: Not for Profit - Charitable
Manages Others: no
Job Type: Nonprofit - Social Services
Req'd Education: Not Specified
Req'd Experience: Not Specified
Req'd Travel: Not Specified
Relocation Covered: No
Posted Date: 2008/01/23

Contact: Martha Titterton Phone: 503-225-1631
Fax: Not Available Ref ID: 125


Reports directly to the Regional Spiritual Life Director, who sets the overall direction for the work. Works cooperatively with management and staff of Good Shepherd Communities (GSC) to ensure that programs and activities are appropriate to the mission and goals of Good Shepherd Communities and are coordinated with other personnel who may be providing spiritual life supports. Trains and orients GSC program managers and staff in the area of spiritual life supports; assists congregations in developing and enhancing spiritual life supports that are inclusive of people with developmental disabilities; recruits and trains volunteers to provide Christian nurture and support for people with developmental disabilities and those who support them; ensures that spiritual life supports are appropriate to the needs and desires of each individual supported by GSC; other duties as may be assigned.

o Supports the spiritual life of people with developmental disabilities based on an assessment of the individual needs and desires.
o Provides orientation, training, resources and supports to GSC staff in the area of spiritual life supports.
o Coordinates programs and activities with other GSC staff that may be providing spiritual life supports.
o Facilitates the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in the life of local congregations.
o Provides training, resources and support to congregations serving/seeking to serve people with developmental disabilities.
o Offers resources and support to families of persons with developmental disabilities.
o Work with BLHS religious life staff and resources staff in developing religious outreach materials, curricula, workshops and seminars.
o Maintains effective working relationships with Lutheran judicatories and other agencies supporting people with developmental disabilities.

• Education and/or Experience:
A communicant member in good standing of a congregation of the LCMS, ELCA, WELS, or ELS, a professional church worker on the active roster of his/her district or a college graduate with training and/or experience in developmental disabilities. Special Education courses or Clinical Pastoral Education and three or more years of experience in ministries with people with developmental disabilities are preferred but not mandatory.

o Certificates, Licenses or Registrations:
Applicants must maintain a valid driver’s license and an acceptable driving record.

Other Competencies:
Training in, and commitment to, the Lutheran doctrine and practice and the ability to work with the Lutheran Church on a local and national level. Applicants need to possess a demonstrated ability to work effectively with staff and volunteers, be able to communicate effectively through verbal and written presentations, and have the skill to set realistic goals and implement plans. An applicant must be intrinsically motivated, flexible, patient, an effective listener and communicator, with the ability and desire to work as a team member in a large corporation. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge, compassion and respect for people with developmental disabilities. A person must be willing to promote the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of each person and seek the greatest possible inclusion in THE CHURCH AND THE COMMUNITY.

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