By Parson Ashley Sherard
On Saturday December 21 Jerusalem Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Lafayette, La., First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and The Special Angels of Iberia, Inc. joined forces to provide children with special needs, and their families, an opportunity to celebrate the Christmas holiday together.
Stephanie Whiting, a member of First Christian Church, brought the idea to Rev. Frank and me to use our brand new worship space to house this event for these special kids and we had to say yes! God has always given me a vision to build a special needs ministry and this was the perfect opportunity to show these families how much God does love and care for them.
We were blessed to have over 50 children, and their families, attend the party. The children ranged in age from toddler to teenager with a wide variety of disabilities ranging from autism to spina bifida. Members of the churches volunteered as servers, greeters and we even had a very special (and familiar) Santa! Each child was able to tell Santa his or her Christmas wish and received a gift.
Nothing like this has been done for the special needs community in Lafayette for a number of years and parents are already requesting we do it again next year. A number of parents were also interested in being a part of the special needs ministry of Jerusalem Christian Church, echoing the Disciples mission of welcoming all to the table, and that means that we must make the changes necessary for the table to be handicap accessible, the message to be presented in a manner that rings loud and clear to all ages and ability levels and the church to be a safe place for everyone.