Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

summer

The Good News Group takes a break in the summer, while leaders go on holiday or have children to look after (the members are more sensible and take their holidays when schools are in, much cheaper!), but we do find ourselves missing each other.

Keswick 2014 (7) Keswick 2014 (22)

To keep us all in touch we organised our annual trip to the Keswick Convention where Prospects (www.propsects.org.uk) were running a week of sessions for people with learning disabilities. As we are supported by Prospects, it was great to meet up with their leaders and other groups like ours. We enjoyed learning about the Bible together and as usual our members were eager to join in the drama!  A very hot and sunny day enabled us to enjoy a picnic on the school lawn, followed by a noisy sing-a-long on the journey home. (M6 only held us up for an extra hour!)

Summer BBQ 2014 (7) Summer BBQ 2014 (11) Summer BBQ 2014 (14)

This week we had a BBQ on the church field.  It was good fun, and after the unsettled weather, we were blessed to be able to sit outside. We really thanked God for enough food (down to the last sausage) and a good laugh as we engaged in a welly-throwing competition.  Well done Karen and Martin for being the competition winners and for the carers Mel and Mark who did super throwing too!

I'm not a great designer but needed a temporary cover!

I’m not a great designer but needed a temporary cover!

We have had a vision to share our Bible teaching materials with others and so I’ve spent the summer putting together Book 1 – “Understanding the Gospel.”  This is a collection of 6 sessions that were inspired by the “Two Ways to Live” booklet by Phillip Jensen & Tony Payne. However, we built a full service and teaching session around each section of their booklet. Our adults with learning disabilities find it easier to access the Bible through story. So firstly we link an idea to a story and use different communication styles, repetition and visuals to engage them with that story. We use an easy English version of the Bible. For some, sensory activities are the way that they engage with the story and so we include them too. We choose a simple objective, a message we want them to learn, in just one sentence, then the talk we do is based on helping the members understand this message.  Active prayer is also important to us as we teach our members HOW to pray for themselves.  I’m just finishing off a take-home sheet for each section. I have been asking people to trial these for us and will be setting up a survey online to see how they find it.

We’d love you to pray for this. We’d like to have it published and available to all churches. We don’t want to make money from this but do believe that these materials can be used in all-age services and with 1:1 Bible study with people with learning disabilities. I’m sure there are parents with children with learning disabilities or autism that might find these useful too.  I have enough Bible teaching sessions from our group of 6 leaders to write another dozen books, from the old and new testaments – opening up the Bible to a large group of people who find sitting through an academic sermon difficult, or who can’t read the Bible for themselves.  I only have confidence in them because I see our group members engaging, enjoying and learning from our teaching. They love the Bible, understand the gospel and respond to it by wanting to make Jesus their king.

You’ve been quiet – please do comment and say hello, I know you’re still there!

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