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A niche of welcome

My good friend, a lifelong, dedicated Episcopalian, announced that she had stopped going to church. “Oh no! What happened?” I asked. “I just can’t take the dirty looks any longer. I just can’t do it.”

That was all she had to say. I could easily fill in the rest of the story. She has three beautiful children, two of whom are on the autism spectrum. Forcing them to sit through an hour-long service had become too difficult when the community didn’t understand how people of all abilities could worship together.

Since that day, I have be­come increasingly aware of those times when the parents of a daughter with Down syndrome or a son with autism drop out of a worshiping community. I wondered who was doing the work of reaching out to people of all abilities.


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