Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

Archive for the ‘Christian New Media Awards 2014’ Category

It’s Christmas!

Donkey’s, sheep, kings, innkeepers, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, angels, robots, dinosaurs and aliens…

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Yes, it’s the Nativity season, and in my primary teaching years it was the most stressful yet exciting and yes, shedding-a-tear-time in the whole year.  We generally kept to the Nativity theme, although some links were quite tenuous! My favourite one was done completely in rhyme, the whole way through.  I managed to get about 5 consecutive years out of that one…but then someone brought in ‘The Grumpy Innkeeper’ and we had to go with that…but still…

Do you remember the Nativities you were involved with as a child?  I have vivid memories of going to school in my pyjamas when I was 7 years old…and the song…”Girls and boys, leave your toys, make no noise, kneel at His crib and worship Him…” I can still remember most of the words!

My worst experience was at Sunday School. There was a lack of boys in the group and they needed a Joseph…I can’t tell you the embarrassment of being a 12 year old girl being forced to be Joseph in the Nativity…the only saving feature is that they made me wear a beard – and so at least I wasn’t that recognisable.  My brother took the mickey out of me for ages after that!

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Finally, in my last year at primary school I got to be Mary, with lines to learn and everything.  My best friend was angel Gabriel, but we kept being late for before-school rehearsals and were threatened with the sack!  We weren’t sacked in the end, phew! My mum remembers this performance with pride, but only because I carried on courageously as the scenery collapsed around me…and stood my ground as I refused to hold Joseph’s hand as we walked around the school hall on our way to Bethlehem!

We all remember the Nativity and children everywhere are going through the same story these next few weeks. for many of them it will be the only time they hear anything about God’s Son Jesus and let us pray that seeds will be sown as they wonder who this baby was and what relevance he has to their lives.

Churches too are gearing up for the celebration….and we too, at the Good News Group are getting ready to share our version of the wonderful story this Wednesday.  Please pray for us.  It is our main outreach of the year and we encourage all our members to invite their friends, housemates, families and carers to come and share in our joyful celebration.  All our members are involved and doing something, reading, praying, acting, puppeteering and the tableau that we will create as we go along will not leave a dry eye in the church!

Here’s a photo or two of our service last year, and if you are local – come and join us 5.45pm start, Leyland St Andrew’s church!

Actors and Readers

Actors and Readers

Singing and Signing "Come and join the celebration".

Singing and Signing “Come and join the celebration”.

Gratitude and Glory…

Well that was a surreal and wonderful weekend!

I really want to thank the judges for deciding that I should be the winner of the ‘Most Inspiring Leadership Blog’ of the Christian New Media Awards 2014!  And congratulations to http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.co.uk/  for being runner up. In a list of 6, we were the two women, writing about marginal groups.  Although the other blogs were also really good, it is wonderful to have issues such as engaging children in the Bible and includeding adults with learning disabilties recognised in this way.

However, I was so shocked that I walked up to the stage with my hand on my mouth and have no idea what I said in my acceptance speech!

The stage - about to announce the winner!

The stage – about to announce the winner!  

Still shocked!

Still shocked!

Mina, from Flame Creative and me.

Selfie time! Mina, from Flame Creative and me.

I love the mini projector I won as a prize. It will be so helpful in my buisness and our ministry as we go around talking and training others.  Visuals are a big part of what we do. It’s a brilliant gift.

I also want to thank Michelle, Ibe and Beverley for making my trip to be interviewed on Premier Gospel radio so wonderful. Michelle worked really hard in researching and preparing for the show, she was so enthusiastic and encouraging. Ibe was charming and put us at ease straight away.  Beverley Samuel, my fellow guest was amazing and we got on like a house on fire.  You can still listen to it if you’re interested here: http://www.premiergospel.org.uk/Shows/Saturday/The-Family-Hour/Episodes/The-Family-Hour20

Ibe and Michelle

Ibe and Michelle

Beverley and me

Beverley and me

'And talk...'

‘And talk…’

I struggle a bit with receiving.  It’s quite ok for me to praise and reward others, but I’d rather be at the back of the queue. I don’t know where it comes from; It’s just that I’m more used to judgement and criticism after being in the education system for 24 years! I cannot feel that I deserve this prize, but God, my Father is kind and generous . Not because I deserve it but he delights in giving his children good things.  So for the record – I praise and I thank him for giving me a wonderful gift, I will delight in it each time I look at the award and use my projector…and then I will get on with the job he has given me to do…

…because, more than anything I want this weekend to have made at least one more person aware that people with learning disabilties are part of the body of Christ.  We need to be looking out for them, including them, sharing the gospel and discipling them. Then they can share their gifts and minister to and with us. That way, the GLORY associated with getting an award is given to God’s will and plans for our ministry.  I had some great conversations with people about what we do at the Good News Group and each one brought more issues to the fore.  Each one important; for example –

  • The lack of provision for teenagers with autism, to access the same life teaching that typical teens in the church are given,
  • The need for training and awareness for church leaders,
  • Healing,
  • Opportunities for people with disabilities to serve alongside the mainstream church,
  • Do we segregate or are we providing focussed Bible teaching?
  • What does an inclusive church look like?
  • How can we make our websites accessible (thanks to Care for the Family’s team for that!)

Well, that looks like my next few blogs are taken care of doesn’t it?….

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