“Our desire is to love well. To allow our special needs kids the opportunity to hear God’s word in an environment where they can hear, touch and experience God’s saving grace.” – Theresa Messer, Hope Church, Mason Ohio
As we discussed in our opening blog this month, “Clueless”, going to church is one of the biggest challenges for families with special needs children in the US. No wonder 90% of families with special needs children are thought to be unchurched. With such a challenge confronting us how can the church respond?
The boy stood there, moving his arms in a rhythmic fashion, a bemused smile on his face. His mother watched from the corner of her eye, and the people were looking back and forth amazed. And then one person said to the mother, “Why do people give birth to children if they cannot take care of them? Why don’t you take more care of your child?” Tears formed in the eyes of the mother and she withered inside, but said nothing. She felt it was her karma for giving birth to an intellectually challenged child. As she shared this with me, she asked, “Will I have to listen to this kind of comment for the rest of my life?” I was quiet, for I had no answers. And I did not know if I ever would. I cried at the insensitivity of the people saying it, I cried at the pain the parents would go through in hearing the comments from people who did not understand. And I cried at the lack of awareness on the issue among the general public.