Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Reaching Out to Those with Special Needs

Monday night I met with a small group of Tenth members who have caught a vision for caring for children with special needs in our church. Kristen Harnly and Jodi Clark have provided the impetus for this work. Jodi was instrumental in getting the Deaf Ministry started. Kristen has helped start the recent "Buddy" ministry in which Tenth members are paired with children with special needs that allows for the children to receive attention and teaching suitable for them and to allow parents to attend worship knowing that their children are provided for. They have recruited David Apple to provide oversight under the ACTS umbrella. Elder Nasrat Ghattas also attended and is supportive.

I look with interest to see how the ministry is developed, as we hope it will expand to reach out to all persons with some form of disability. An important first step has been to contract with Stephanie Hubach as consultant. Stephanie is the Mission to North America's Director of Special Needs Ministries, who happens to live in Lancaster. (Lois Denier, who formed Grace Ministry at Tenth, also serves on the same MNA committee). She will be the speaker of Tenth's conference on disability - The Body of Christ and Disability - April 12. She has also written a book on the subject, Same Lake, Different Boat, published by P&R.


Blogger s duggan said...

For those ingterested the Same Lake Different Boat book is available in the church library if somebody hasn't beaten you to it!

5:02 PM  
Blogger k olmstead said...

When I first read Stephanie. Hubach’s book, I was greatly encouraged as she clearly articulated what my experience has been in having a child with disabilities. I was clueless, utterly unprepared and felt my faith shaken. Ms. Hubach was the first to give me an insightful perspective of disability that is biblical and practical.
While Ms. Hubach’s words would be a great encouragement to those directly affected by disabilities, I have often thought that what would be most helpful is for “everyone else” to hear her message. Over the years, many have graciously asked how they could practically help our family – most of the time I had no answer. Now, I would say to come to the conference at Tenth on April 12 and read Ms. Hubach’s book.

9:43 PM  
Blogger dori said...

This is a great insight by Kami. When you have a child with special needs you feel as though you're walking through a fog...lost, afraid, alone...and weary.
If we in the church want to help, encourage and minister to these families, we need to be taught how to do so. This conference will instruct us. The special needs children in our fellowship are our covenant children too! The baptismal vows we take apply just the same. What an encouragement it is for the parents to know someone else cares! Galatians 6:2

10:21 AM  

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