Tag Archives: church

Essay Contest: Blog #4 Brittany French

Brittany was one of the first people that befriended me many years ago when my daughter and I started attending The Chosen Ministry. In her shy way, she would ask about Samantha and then about me, always remembering details that many would miss if they weren’t really listening. What a gift!
FIN would like to both thank and congratulate Brittany for sharing her story and being the winner of our very first essay contest.  As you read her essay you will realize that the remarkable thing about this story is how simple it really is…a church doing what many others do; reach out to the community and educate children in the faith.  What made a difference in Brittany’s life is how she felt and the continued acceptance as a person with a disability as she grew up in the church.  Even more wonderful, being a member of the congregation eventually led …

Happy Birthday to the Happy Hour Class

Today I had the privilege of attending worship service at Wesley Grace United Methodist Church, http://www.wmumcnor.org/ a small congregation in the Wards Corner area of Norfolk, VA that is known locally for a lot of community outreach, impacting the local area in many positive ways.
I was invited by my friend, Gray Puryear, who is not only a longstanding member of the congregation but also serves as a lay speaker among the many responsibilities he holds at Wesley Grace.
Gray, who I have known for 10 years as he is a founding board member of Faith Inclusion Network, invited me to this service because they were planning to celebrate an exciting milestone, the 50th anniversary of a ministry for adults with intellectual disabilities they call “Happy Hour Class”.
An excerpt from a description in the bulletin about the ministry reads, “In 1967, several parents attending a church t Wards Corner in Norfolk asked the …

Autism Moms and Dads Blog Series-Interview # 3

I did not have to look far to find these parents who graciously both agreed to respond to our interview questions. Rick and Ruth Robins are parents to Tripp, a third grader at The Williams School in Norfolk, VA, where I also teach band.  Although we have just begun our friendship, Ruth has already been wonderfully encouraging and supportive of my work my FIN and we have had some great discussions.
There are SO many parents out there who are trying to navigate the world of integration with children who have ASD but lean more toward the high-functioning/Asperger’s side of the spectrum.  We appreciate Rick and Ruth’s  willingness to share a bit of their experiences thus far. 
Rick and Ruth Robins-Interview #3
Tripp Robins
Question: How old was your child when they were diagnosed with autism?
Ruth: Tripp was five but the signs had been there since he was 15 months old. Family (specifically …

Autism Moms Interview #7 Angela Kahler

I met Angela Kahler at our first Gifts of the Heart event in 2012.  We connected as autism moms and fellow Catholics immediately and I knew she and we would become good friends. (Which we have!)
A bundle of energy. Angela is extremely involved in the community.  She was on the FIN Board of Directors for 4 years and is still very active with FIN events.  She is also a Disability Advocate at her church, Church of the Ascension in Virginia Beach and the Treasurer of the Virginia Beach Special Educational PTSA.  
Thank you for your friendship, Angela, and all you do for your family and the disability community.
Question: How old was your child when they were diagnosed with autism? Can you share how you felt when you received that diagnosis?
Angela: Joe was pretty young. He was 23 months old when he was diagnosed. I grieved the loss of the life …

Autism Moms Interview #4 Kathleen D. Bolduc

One of my favorite things about leading Faith Inclusion Network is the opportunity to meet amazing people from around the country who are writing and presenting about faith and disabilities.  I first encountered Kathleen D. Bolduc through her book, “His Name is Joel”. After reading about some of her experiences with her son Joel, I remember thinking, “I found someone who understands! A spiritual person who wants to raise a child with autism in the faith. I need to talk with her!”
Not too long after reading her book, I did get to meet and talk with her, when she agreed to come present at our FIN That All May Worship-2011 Conference.  Thank you, Kathy for all the wonderful resources you have authored and thank you for participating in this Autism Moms blog series.- K. Jackson
Interview with: Kathleen Deyer Bolduc
Author of The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities (Judson Press, 2014), Autism …

Accept. Include. Celebrate.

This story is written in honor of all my friends who have Down syndrome.
Happy World Down Syndrome Day!-K. Jackson
I walked into the gathering slowly, tired from a long Monday that included teaching, driving, and frustrating phone calls to my bank. I was spent and ready to just pick up my daughter and get home to start the evening routine. But something happened in the moment I walked in the door…something simple yet profound.
I was greeted, not just warmly, but enthusiastically by one of my friends at The Chosen Ministry, a social ministry for persons with disabilities. No, not by my daughter-she rarely gets excited like this-but by a friend who just sees me a few times a month. As I made my way into the building my friend, who has Down syndrome, by the way, blessed me with a huge smile, a hug, and made me feel welcomed. She …