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As the holiday season begins, families affected by disability may need your thoughtfulness and support in order to participate or feel included in worship and social events, not to mention encouragement just to make it through this sometimes stressful time of year! How can we be extra mindful and supportive of persons and families affected by disability during this season? Here are a few ideas: 

  1. Has a family with a child with a disability in your congregation had a particularly difficult time recently? Send a card, a meal or any thoughtful gesture and let them know that you and your congregational family are thinking of them.  
  2. Are you a part of the planning and preparation for worship? Invite a person with a disability, who usually doesn't get a chance to participate, to have an active part in a service. You are bound to need extra volunteers at this time of year ... be intentional in your efforts to include. 
  3. Do you know someone or a family who is struggling with mental illness? This time of year can be particularly difficult for them. Reach out and let them know you are praying for them. Check in frequently and visit or invite them out often. Don't give up.
  4. Parents of children with disabilities may not have the ability to get out shopping by themselves. (And even if you are not a special needs parent, you know how difficult it can be to shop with kids!) Offer to help with childcare for a few hours. It will help the parent/caregiver check off a few items on their list and will provide some respite as well.
  5. Support a local organization that provides support for people with disabilities.

Reposted by permission of Karen Jackson, Executive Director of Faith Inclusion Network of Hampton Roads, from an email newsletter. 

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