Several churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark are showing the way in offering opportunities for worship to children with special needs and their families. Christ Church, Budd Lake, which is among the leaders in this field, was recently written up in its hometown paper.
Phil Garber of the Mount Olive Chronicle reports:
Special-needs children [at the services] run the gamut from severely to high-functioning autism, Down syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other behavioral differences. Some children are verbal, others non-verbal and they range from toddlers to 18-year-olds. …
Children gather with their parents or caregivers for the cross parade where every child is given a cross and marches around the room to “very lively music,” according [the Rev. Sonia] Waters.
“Immediately we set the signal that this is a different kind of service,” Waters said. “There is the opportunity to get up and be noisy and to be rewarded rather than castigated.”
Are there special needs services in your diocese?