Wow, what a great place First Baptist is to be! Joining a church staff and participating in ministry to children and youth with special needs looks different these days, but so far I have enjoyed outdoor visits with donuts, Zoom Sunday School on Sunday mornings, and lots of brainstorming. I’m so thankful that we have such friendly, caring families in our church.
I have also been working on expanding inclusion in age-appropriate ministries and redesigning our self-contained Sunday School class. We have moved this class closer to the “action” on the Children’s Ministry hallway. You may know this room by the beautiful papier-mâché St. Francis of Assisi statue (made by children from our church years ago). For this reason, the name of the class will be the “St Francis Class”! I’m drawn to the famous quote by St. Francis—“Preach the gospel at all times… when necessary, use words.”
My “big picture plan” for our ministry to children and youth with special needs is a whole-church collaboration, focusing on inclusion where it works, and a quality self-contained program when it’s needed. Some of our children and youth may prefer to stay in the St. Francis class throughout the Sunday School hour, while some may go with a buddy to their same-aged-peer class. Some of us may sit with our families during worship, while some may like to sit together in the Sanctuary for a portion of the service.
With that in mind, I have three questions!
1-Are you interested in volunteering to serve as a buddy alongside children and youth with special needs in our congregation?
2-Is your family impacted by disability?
3-Would you like to connect with others in our church? Right now, we are focusing on serving those with special needs from birth to age 18.
Please email me if your answer to any of these questions is “yes!”
Thank you for being so welcoming as we explore exciting possibilities together!
—Sarah Ramsey-Smith

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