Concordia Church is excited to announce that we received a FFM (Fund for Mission) Grant from the Metro Chicago Synod. The $20,000 will be used to create an outreach ministry for families with children who have special or sensory needs. In partnership with Concordia Ministries leaders, we are working to provide families (many who struggle to find a church home) with a space that fosters inclusivity and provide worship opportunities with a thoughtful approach. We look forward to this new witness.

What congregations need to know about special needs families:

Parents and siblings of special needs individuals find the experience to be challenging, polarizing and lonely. “When we have a special needs child, the anxiety level you have when you go to a place where the expectation is silence is high,” Wargo said. Become aware of and be sensitive to those with special needs in your congregation. “They are part of your congregation just as much as the typical kids are or the typical adults,” Clarke said. Special needs families want to be accepted, and they also want people to stop feeling sorry for them. “There’s an unmet need out there. There’s people in our community that don’t have an opportunity to feel welcome in worship. Let’s welcome them here,” Zimmermann said.

When you have a  special-needs child and you have to go to a place where the expectation is silence, there is such a level of anxiety of parents. To be able to sit and say, ‘It’s OK, the noise you’re going to make is absolutely joyful, that’s music from God,’ is such a comfort.”

The Fund For Mission Grant was awarded to Concordia Church to develop a space for worship and program activities suitable for families with special needs children.

If you have questions or would like to help with this ministry, please connect with Jen Phillips at jphillips@concordiafaith.org.