Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

Growing in Grace

Our Welcome Booklet

Our Welcome Booklet

It could get messy, out of control.  Things might take longer….but it could also be wonderful, fun and full of joy.  Okay then…it’s agreed…we’ll give it a go!

In July I wrote about how a dissertation based on our Good News Group had challenged us that we were not as inclusive as we thought. You can read it again here – http://wp.me/p2MVJu-8Z .

Our plan is two-fold. First to make our weekly meeting more inclusive so that everyone has a chance to serve in some way if they wish too. Secondly we are looking for ways in which the Good News Group members can access other services and events in the church and have the opportunity to serve there too if they wish.

Our weekly meetings is labour intensive. As we help our members with crafts, games and colouring, then tidy up, serving tea, clearing up, setting out the service, manning the computer and sound desk, leading worship and teaching, praying and signing.  We realised there were so many opportunities to open up these areas to everyone, whether they were able bodied or a wheelchair user, could speak or sign, could read or were visually impaired.

Another issue that came out from our team is that they were so busy serving that they did not have time to get to know our members properly. We didn’t like this and so bringing the two aspects together, we did something a little different for our first meeting back after the summer break.

Taking into account some of our members who get quite anxious if things change I pasted three sheets of paper and numbers onto the wall. i explained we were going to work through 1-3 then have our singing time (our favourite time!) Everyone accepted this well and so we set off.

  1. First we had simply ‘Chat time’.  Supported by visual symbols of suggested topics (home, family, interests, dislikes, church etc) the group was split into four smaller groups and just chatted.  The hub of conversation was a joy to listen to. Many people said how they had found so much out about people. Certainly we should be doing more of this.
  2. Secondly we looked at what the Bible says about being ‘The body of Christ’.  Using a life-size outline of a body I asked everyone to suggest ways we could serve others using some of those body parts (hands, arms, feet) and we had a wonderful list from giving someone a clap, praying, pushing a wheelchair, giving gifts, washing up, walking somewhere with someone.
  3. This led us to unveil a table of a variety of jobs that we were inviting everyone to volunteer for.  TA-DAH!!!   and lots of people signed up!   From washing up to pressing buttons on the computer and saying prayers.  Fabulous!

So now we get on with it and I think it will help us all grow together.

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Comments on: "Growing in Grace" (2)

  1. homewardboundragamuffin said:

    Reblogged this on Inclusive Journey and commented:
    This a thought provoking post about making small groups more relational by providing everyone a chance to relate and to serve!

    Like

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