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Get Up and Get That Kid Out of Here!

06 Aug

Nothing says more about the spirit of a Church than its treatment of children.  So would your church tell someone to leave because their child was autistic?

I have been asked to leave church more than once because my son is autistic and can be disruptive. It is painful for our family to miss church, but we have spent more years outside of the church than inside.  Families with autism need to feel welcome in the church in order to be healthy and strong. There are a lot of people like Kevin who need the healing powers church can bring.

Perfectly understandable and I agree completely.  But of course what of the needs of the other members of the congregation to be able to hear and participate in worship?

Somehow or other churches need to learn to welcome even those who make worship difficult and parents of special needs children need to learn to be patient until congregations wrestle with a balance.  Disparaging a church because one’s very presence forces it to evaluate itself is unfair.  And asking someone to leave because their child is in special need is unchristian.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 6 Aug 2011 in Theology

 

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2 responses to “Get Up and Get That Kid Out of Here!

  1. Doug

    6 Aug 2011 at 10:33 am

    I feel very strongly about this, in fact this was one reason we left our previous church. Yes, a lot of children are diagnosed with autism (which doesn’t mean they are going to be disruptive to the extent of the writers child). But there are many other children and adults with physical and mental impairments that want to worship in church. Pastors and elders need to learn about the condition or impairment and sensitively address the issue.

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  2. Shannon Dingle

    6 Aug 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Agreed. As a former youth ministry coordinator and a former special education teacher, it never occurred to me that churches would exclude people with disabilities. When my husband and I realized the need and became coordinators for what is now called Access Ministry at our church, we were stunned by story after story like this from new families, stories of churches asking families to leave or overtly making them feel unwelcome. In the five months since I launched my special needs ministry blog, The Works of God Displayed, I have heard dozens more stories like this one. I think the first line of your last paragraph nails it: “Somehow or other churches need to learn to welcome even those who make worship difficult and parents of special needs children need to learn to be patient until congregations wrestle with a balance.”

    Thanks for blogging about this. It’s important.

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