Monday morning check-in

A friend of mine left me a message recently and commented that I must be experiencing some writers block due to the inactivity of new posts on my blog.  And he is partly right…but I have had some things brewing in my head these past couple days.  I just haven’t been sure how to approach them.

What would I do?
One of the things I have been pondering is a recent story I heard on KARE 11 news out of Minneapolis.  It is about a Catholic Church in the cities that has gained a temporary injunction against a family, who has an extremely autistic child, from attending mass (Follow this link for the Star Tribune story).  On the surface it seems to contradict the essence of the Gospel to bar someone from attending worship/mass.  The Church has tried to accommodate the family better the family did not like the church’s suggestion (having them in a different room with a video feed).  Now this family is faced with jail time if they violate the injunction, going to mass elsewhere or not attend mass at all.  I wonder if there is more this church could do.  I wonder what I would do to minister to this family.  What would you do (knowing the limited facts that we have)?

What WILL I do?
Starting this week, the ramp that leads up our sanctuary, is going to be torn out and replaced.  The time table is going to be anywhere from 1 to 2 months (depending on what they find underneath).  All of this means that we will be worshiping downstairs in the Fellowship Hall where there is a ground entrance (handicap accessible).  Otherwise, people would have to trek up stairs to get to the sanctuary and that won’t work well with some people.  Now the question is how worship is going to look in a new location for a couple months.  What will I do?  My worship and music team is meeting today to discuss the logistics of leading worship downstairs.  One thought was to keep the tables up and make worship very "informal".  Maybe we’ll have the coffee on and people can grab a cup before, during and after worship.  But I wonder if this will be too informal for people.

What I AM going to do.
This sounded like a logical and cute three heading to put here but I have learned from experience that the best plans often do not work out.  We make plans and God laughs.  So I am going to be careful here and say…what I AM going to do is…


Have a very blessed day and check back soon for a new meme that I have been tagged to do.  Take care.


7 thoughts on “Monday morning check-in

  1. Julie Schulz

    I am glad you brought up the Star Tribune/Kare 11 story about the church banning a boy who is severely autistic. First of all, I do not like that they wrote that he is a severely autistic child. The diagnosis should not come before the person. He is a boy who has severe autism. It is wrong for the church to ban the family from service. I understand they are looking out for the safety of the other people in their congregation, but this family deserves the right to attend workship and not be an outcast. This 13 year old has a disiblity that he cannot help and the church should be more sympathetic. If this were a school, it would be against the law to ban him, but it is a church and they should be more nourishing and provide support to the family instead. Being in the special education field, I have no tolerance for this. There, I have said my peace.
    Your sis.

  2. Pastor Eric

    “The diagnosis should not come before the person.” Very good point…and I am sorry I referred to him that way.

    But now allow me to play devil’s advocate: If this boy is preventing other people from worshipping, doesn’t the church also have a responsibility to them as well?
    [REMEMBER: I am playing devil’s advocate here. I am not sure yet how I would deal with this]

  3. Gen Hullstrom

    Dad would probably have a couple comments on this subject as he had a junior high student with autism in his Sunday School class. This student was quite often disruptive in class and since dad did not have the training to handle such a situation it was hard for him to deal with it. This may not be the same situation and I have not read or heard how this boy acts in church but I do know that how people react is because they are uncomfortable with the circumstances and just don’t know how to deal with it.

  4. Julie Schulz

    For Eric and Mom, you have both made good points. In Dad’s case, there should have been another person in the class with the student to provide support, just like they do in school. I would not want to make a decision that would keep others away. The mom of this boy did say that they sit in the back and usually leave the service early. In this case, other people are with him. Maybe they should have a rule that he not attend service or any other church function without the support of another person. If he becomes diruptive, he would need to leave. I just hate to see kids excluded. You are right mom, people are afraid of what they don’t know. An autism expert could provide a training for the people who are interested.

  5. Pastor Eric

    I like that idea, Julie, about having a training session about autism. If I were ever presented with a situation like this Catholic Church I think I would like to have some training before any decision or conversation took place.

  6. Pastor Eric

    One more thing…

    …as for Sunday school staffing I am a firm believer of having two adults in every classroom (whether there is a special needs student there or not). This just helps protect adults teachers from any kind of accusation. I know this can be difficult since it is hard to get even one teacher for a class, but we need to be diligent for the sake of our kids and teachers.

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