Fostering Belonging

Overview of the Presentation

Erik W. Carter offers ten elements of belonging:  to be present, invited, welcomed, known, accepted, supported, cared for, befriended, needed, and loved.  Focused on moving from barriers to inclusion of persons with special needs in a faith community, Carter provides an inventory through which any faith-based community—parish, school, classroom, committee—can evaluate itself on how it engenders a sense of belonging.  Carter also offers many concrete strategies for inclusion.

Erik W. Carter offers ten elements of belonging:  to be present, invited, welcomed, known, accepted, supported, cared for, befriended, needed, and loved.  Focused on moving from barriers to inclusion of persons with special needs in a faith community, Carter provides an inventory through which any faith-based community—parish, school, classroom, committee—can evaluate itself on how it engenders a sense of belonging.  Carter also offers many concrete strategies for inclusion.

Erik W. Carter (opens new window) is Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education, Vanderbilt University

Using this Resource

This resource is a guide to using an STM Online: Encore presentation as a conversation starter with members of a faith community.  Each part of the presentation may be used separately, in combination with each other, or in a sequence over a period of time.  The general nature of “Fostering Belonging” gives it broad application and makes it an excellent choice for a variety of groups.  For example, consider using one or several of the segments with a parish council, a hospitality committee, catechists, Catholic school faculty, and high school religion classes.  If you are looking for a service opportunity for a high school confirmation class, consider leading a discussion around Parts 3 and 5, and commit to implementing one recommendation to enhance belonging in the community.