Spirituality and Learning Disabilities

A short report by Stef Robertson of Inverness Prospects Group

A Space to Listen: Understanding the spiritual lives of people with learning disabilities.


Professor John Swinton

  Professor John Swinton


Over recent years, the church has increasingly sought to address issues of practice in the inclusion of people with learning disabilities in our worship and in our communities. ‘A Space to Listen’, the day conference held in Perth on April 2nd 2008 addressed these issues of practice and practicalities, but also went beyond (or perhaps before) these things to look at our theology of disability and our understanding of what it means to be the body of Christ.

Through the testimonies of people with learning disabilities, in workshops and in the teaching by Professor John Swinton of Aberdeen University, those attending were encouraged to understand and engage with the spiritual lives of people with learning disabilities differently. In particular, there was a call to avoid treating ministry with people with learning disabilities as a ‘special interest’ and instead to see all people, including those with learning disabilities, as integral to our life, mission and ministry as the body of Christ.



The conference was organised by the Mission and Discipleship committee of the Church of Scotland


Professor John Swinton leads the Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability at Aberdeen University


Information and resources on Christian spirituality and learning disability are available from:


For more information on the Inverness Prospects group, please contact:

Stef Robertson at

Stef Robertson, 10/04/2008

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