From Welcome to Embrace

Posted by Rebecca Black on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 Under: Autism Parents
Thinking today of what I wanted to write about, I came across a journal abstract published in May of this year. If you are one of those who likes to read the full story, click here. The publication is The Journal of Religion, Disability & Health. Here is a quote from the abstract of the article:

 "studies suggest faith community participation may be more limited for people with disabilities and their families. This study reports qualitative findings from a mixed-methods study exploring the perspectives of 416 parents on the welcome and support they have experienced within faith communities, both for themselves and for their sons or daughters with developmental disabilities."

The article quotes parents portraying some depressingly familiar scenarios. Not one of us at A Special Grace is, of course, surprised. The stories we have heard of families with a member on the Autism Spectrum feeling unwelcome and unloved by their churches are sad, and familiar and legion.

It is the motivating actor behind our decision to continue to offer alternative sensory-friendly worship in our lovely space at Epiphany Episcopal Church in Walpole, MA. After over three years of monthly services, we have been evaluating our ministry. It has always been our hope that someday these alternative services would be unnecessary. It has always been our hope that someday every church would be sensory-aware and welcoming. Not yet though.

Help us by telling us your stories. When it is poiinted out to them, most congregations are willing to make the changes to make their spaces friendlier and more welcoming. And while we cannot alone change the Church to be the all-embracing place our Lord surely intended, we believe that we can change it together. Please use our front-page form to add yourself to our list. Share our blogs and newsletters, and talk about the Kingdom of God that could be here and now in our churches.

Surely the Lord is in this place.

In : Autism Parents 

Tags: autism religion church "autism church"