Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

I’m catching up on two days here at Keswick as yesterday was a full on day with no time to blog.  I’ll tell you about the afternoon puppet workshop soon.

The main Keswick meetings are looking at the same Bible passages as we are, but in the evening.  That’s a good advantage for our guests who will have visited the teaching already that morning and so will be more familiar with (and hopefully more able to understand) the evening teaching.

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We looked at the story of the 10 Lepers on Tuesday morning.  We focussed on the one out of the 10 who came back to give thanks and praise to Jesus….and he was the Samaritan – the outsider.  We discussed that the other 9 had wanted the blessing but not the one who gives the blessing.  Are we like that?  Are we only wanting the gifts without wanting to know the giver?   Gratitude should be a huge part of our lives with Jesus.  He is God and did so much for us.  It was good to be reminded in Psalm 1  that we shouldn’t continue with bad habits (such as taking God for granted or grumbling that he’s not doing what we want him to) and that we should instead live each moment with gratitude to him.  It is he who gives us life and hope.  We wrote our gratitude prayers on sticky notes and stuck them to the cross.  That’s a good visual activity to do for any group. Maybe you could think of 5 things to be grateful for each day, to get you in the good habit of being grateful?

Here’s my 5 things…

  1. Thanking God for his creation.  Keswick is a place where God showed his flair for mountains and nature.  Ive seen bats, osprey’s, a friendly pig in the field next to our accommodation and even some sunshine.  Praise God!
  2. Thanking God for the people on the team.  They are all differently gifted and it’s all just working really well.  He’s called all of us from different circumstances and it really feels like an honour to serve him in this one week of opening his Word to people with learning disabilities.
  3. Thanking God that He is God and that the world really is in his hands.
  4. Thanking God that for over 140 years the people of Keswick have welcomes thousands of Christians into their town and allowed the Word of God to be preached freely and safely.
  5. Thanking God for Jesus.  For his death on the cross and that he saved me.

Today (Wednesday) we had a group from Kendal joining us and told the story of Zacchaeus.  Helen, a guest that has been coming for years and who was always so quiet and shy – has been volunteering for every drama this week.  She played each part she was given really well and today she played the part of Jesus.  We were so proud of her.  Another highlight was Andrew donning his cap on the side of his head and doing the “Zacc Rap”!

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We were learning that if we repent (and what ‘to repent’ means) then we are forgiven.  This was dramatically played out in our practical activity.  Each person wrote, drew or made marks to represent the things they wanted to say sorry to God for.  Then we put all their pieces of paper through a shredder…

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It is really important that all people understand that we cannot pay our debt to God, caused by our sin.   No matter what language or impairment we have, the need for salvation is the same.  And once we say sorry to God, he forgives us and forgets our sins.  Thank you Lord!

Please pray for tomorrow morning.  Andrew and I have a one hour seminar to deliver about how to write an accessible talk.  We would really like people to come along who really need and want to hear this advice and that will take it back to their churches and do something more accessible.  We are basing the talk on the blog post I wrote “Tips for writing an accessible talk”.    A full room would be fab….especially a full room of people who really want to do something with this.

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