On Saturday, February 2, 2013, Redeemer Family Ministries hosted a workshop by Barbara Newman, a special educator and widely-known Christian speaker from CLC Network near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Barbara spoke to an audience of around 80 people at the W83 Ministry Center about how to adapt worship, teaching and fellowship to include and love families affected by autism.
Workshop attendees came from all five boroughs of NYC, Long Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and even Kansas. Attendees learned about the biblical basis for reaching out to, and including, people with ASD and other disabilities; the specific symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD); and how to better serve people who have ASD in their congregations. Participants were able to brainstorm, ask questions, buy books and other resources, affirm each other’s ministry and pray together about this complex issue in our communities. Participants felt God’s love and Spirit working throughout the day in the hearts of all who attended!
The workshop was co-sponsored by MNA Special Needs Ministries (a PCA organization providing evangelism and outreach support to churches), Young Life Capernaum (the special needs ministry of Young Life), New York Christians for Parents of Children with Autism (NYCPCA) and Redeemer Family Ministries.
Redeemer is one of the few churches in New York City that has a ministry for children with special needs. Mustard Seeds is a self-contained classroom with a small child-to-adult ratio currently in its third year of operation during the Eastside AM service. Mustard Seeds children have varying disabilities, including autism, that prevent them from being able to learn in an integrated classroom. Planning is underway to start a Mustard Seeds West during one of the morning services on the West Side. For more information about Mustard Seeds, please email [email protected].