I’m going to be blogging less. I’ve been struggling to maintain writing this and my autism teaching blog because of other commitments. I have eventually realised that I don’t need to feel so stressed or guilty – that the Lord is taking me on a different path for now. I also have a job which is ministry in itself, the Roofbreakers Network to organise and my educational writing projects. I need to be kinder to myself and take a break now and again, as well as realising God isn’t asking me to do any of this alone. Only in his strength but also with the teams of people he is connecting me with. Thank you Lord!
- Since I wrote this blog about putting together an “Included by Grace” book that work has been steadily going on in the background. I’ve enlisted my daughter and my dad to help me and we are putting the content together so I can edit it.
- But also there’s another couple of projects starting to take form. One of them is a long held vision I’ve had to share our Bible teaching materials online so people with learning disabilities themselves can access the teaching and people who want to plan for groups like ours can also access that teaching and planning. Well, despite being terrified (of all the things I don’t know) God has brought alongside me people who get it, people who are doing similar things and people who want to help. So our plans to have an accessible Bible teaching website are in the early planning stages but at last seem to be a possibility. One real encouragement recently was to be put in contact with two other women doing something similar. One is doing this for children, one for teenagers. That fits in perfectly with my plans to do this for adults. Thanks to Mark Arnold from Urban Saint’s Additional Needs Ministry for connecting us!
- Finally, it is also a dream to enable the members of our Good News Group to share the gospel with others and we are going to try putting a team together to do assemblies in some of our local special schools. It would be great for our members to be role models for the children in those schools. Again, God is good, I have people who get it, who want to help and even some links with people who have done this before and will share ideas (If you know of anyone else who has done this please ask them to get in touch with me).
All that and it’s the Christmas season so our group is gearing up for it’s annual outreach Christmas service on Wednesday. They are all so excited. And then on the following Wednesday, 5 of the group have been learning a puppet dance to “Celebrate the Child” by Michael Card. I led a workshop about teaching puppets to adults with learning disabilities at the One Way UK European Puppet Festival in October. This is us putting our words into practice… I might write a post about how we did it and what the challenges were another time. I know its going to be fabulous and everyone will enjoy it.
So for blogging…
I hope if you follow my blog you won’t forget about us. I will repost some of my old blogs, especially the practical advice ones and share them on FB and twitter. Includedbygrace now has a FB page if you’d like to follow it. You can comment on there and keep in touch. And I’m on twitter as @includedbygrace And pray. We’d appreciate that a lot.
If you will share includedbygrace blog, FB and Twitter pages on your own network it will help me build and audience for the book, website and whatever else comes from this. I’m still available for training in churches across the North West and the Additional Needs Alliance Network can find you trainers elsewhere.
Some of you will have read a post I put up a few days ago called “Storm before the Calm.” I have taken this down as I was embarrassed at how raw it was. I was having a bad weekend emotionally but thanks to a lovely friend who helped me feel much better after a good chat, I’m rewriting it as something that can stay on the blog. (Thanks so much to those that already replied – I have all your comments and you are much appreciated).
Like a lot of people, I have been quite upset by things way beyond my control. The main things that have ‘stormed’ into my life are:
- The news – terrorist attacks, tower block fires, the stupid election (my views are my own!) and just not knowing what the government are doing. I still don’t want Brexit and the process frightens me. It’s unsettling, hard to escape. Two girls from my town died in the Manchester attack. Everyone I know shares the worry and grief over all the incidents and events in our country these past months.
- A death happened. A young person took their own life. I’m grieving for them and their family. I have been researching mental health and young people and find that we are ignoring the risks and pressures that affect our young people. It feels like we are sleepwalking into a crisis. Many people think that’s already happening. I’m praying and wondering what the church should be doing.
- For some time I’ve been wondering about how I can share much more of the resources we’ve built up over 10 years of our Good News Group. Particularly our Bible teaching materials but also sharing our story and training for churches. I want so much to give our adults in the group, opportunity to speak for themselves and for others with learning disabilities to have access to good teaching materials.
And this is where I asked for help in my last post. If you read includedbygrace regularly I’d like to hear from you. If you’ve happened to read it by random google search, I want to hear from you. I want to know what you think of includedbygrace and the information I share. What it means to you and how it has helped you (or not).
If you want to say a pray for this please pray that God will make this what he wants it to be. I have been blessed by a conversation with two web developers who are interested in designing an accessible website with me. Maybe that’s a thing that includedbygrace can become. I have no funding, only faith at this point in time. But I believe in a God who funds his own projects.
My second idea is to build a team of trainers from our Good News Group who can tell churches how they can be better included. I experimented with doing this by video when I went to London and this was one way of sharing their voice. Locally I can take people to places we speak.
Thirdly, I’d love to reach out to special schools in our area. Maybe with assemblies or sensory Bible stories. I’d need a team of GNG members to help me…and again the logistics are huge. But not for God!
In my mind are a lot of other random ideas. I only want to go in the direction God has prepared and not waste time on things that won’t work. The aim is to spread the gospel and disciple children, teens and adults with learning disabilities, giving them accessible Bible teaching and resources. Also, it is to equip churches to do this work too. We are a small team…living hopefully in the storms…
Welcome to my website – please take a look. The information and resources I share on my talks about adults and children with learning disabilities in church are there and lots of other resources for autism. each week there will be something new… bookmark it and keep taking a look. www.reachoutasc.com/churches
If you think of something that could be added – get in touch! What do you think?