About Deborah

“Do you like to play?” My journey into disability supports began with an advertisement for ABA therapists in the Badger Herald. I moved to Madison to continue my education in agricultural economics and dairy science- I never would have dreamed that a part time job working with children with Autism would completely change my focus, and help me realize my calling and life’s work.

Woman being filmed speaking in a church

Buechner wrote “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need,” and engaging with people and their families in the systematic work of learning to play ignited my path to teaching, seminary, and my doctorate in faith inclusion.

In my own research, I focus on the strengths of people with IDD and their experiences of belonging and inclusion in communities of faith. The core findings of my research center on the experiences of leadership, family and routines.

From my work as an ABA therapist, and my time as a K-12 Special Education teacher, I was called to my current role as an Associate Pastor in the PCUSA. I serve Central Church, a traditional community full of generosity and great ideas who knows that to live into God’s Kingdom is slow, beautiful and deliberate work. It is an honor to serve with them.

So whether you are a person with IDD, a faith leader, or a parent, you are welcome here. I am excited to connect with you, and I look forward to joining with you on this journey to be the church that God is calling us to be.

About Belonging

In addition to my work as a pastor, I am passionate about helping your faith community in their journey toward inclusion, so whether it’s serving with the committee on representation with my synod, consulting on curriculum, or training Sunday School teachers, I want to help you in your journey. If you would like help with inclusion in your church, please don’t hesitate to reach out and connect. You can check out and share resources, read our blog, check out our video content, connect with our volunteer network, join our support group, or talk with us about training and consulting. Thanks for being a part of this journey- together we can help bring God’s kingdom a little closer.

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