The Center for Disability and Ministry (CDM) at Western Theological Seminary and IVP Academic have announced that they will be partnering together to co-brand a series of books about disability and practical theology. Dr. Benjamin T. Conner and Dr. John Swinton, internationally renowned leaders in disability studies, will serve as co-editors for the series. Dr. Conner directs the CDM at Western Theological Seminary while Dr. Swinton is Director of the Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Jon Boyd, editorial director for IVP Academic, said, “We were privileged to publish Ben Conner’s own book Disabling Mission, Enabling Witness with IVP Academic in 2018. The more I learned about the research, teaching, and community outreach programs he and Western Theological Seminary have been building, the more interested I’ve been to deepen our partnership. The chance to collaborate on books about disability and practical theology is a perfect fit.”
Western Theological Seminary has been on the front end of the conversation about disability and ministry for many years. The seminary developed the first Friendship House, a residence where young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities shared life with seminary students. They also initiated a graduate certificate in disability and ministry, and a disability and ministry doctor of ministry program.
Conner said, “The time seemed right to pursue a publishing partnership to amplify the work done through and stimulated by the CDM, and both John and I felt that IVP Academic would be the best partner because of their commitment to the academic conversation and their capacity to distribute the work.”
The co-branded series provides a platform to share the research and conversations generated by the CDM and the related work of other scholars and authors. Using practical theology as a basic framework for understanding in addition to being targeted to congregations, this book series will seek to initiate a series of conversations around key issues in disability theology with a view to increasing knowledge, creatively and faithfully impacting Christian practice.
Boyd said, “Our new partnership puts us on a really exciting road, I think, allowing both the Center for Disability and Ministry and IVP Academic to do what we each do best, but to envision greater things than we could on our own.”
Conner added, “We hope that this partnership between the CDM and IVP Academic will provide the perspectives and resources necessary for supporting churches to become more inclusive of both the gifts and challenges that the human experience of disability can bring for shaping congregations for faithful ministry to all people.”