The Fount is beginning a new ministry to persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are 13 years of age and older. This is a relatively unreached community, because most services and ministries for folks living with ASD are for children. But “Radiate Possibility” (the name of our new ministry) is different; it is specifically geared for persons 13 and over living with ASD and their families.
It is an exciting ministry! As parents of a child (Nathan) who is over 13 and living with ASD, this is something near and dear to our hearts. We have others in our congregation who are also living with ASD. But there are many, many other families in Orange County who need the services that Radiate Possibility will provide, and many of those families are looking for a church that is “ASD-friendly!”
The Fount is positioning itself to be that church.
What does that mean? It means that we may very well have visitors coming to worship with us in the near future who include young adults living with ASD. It means we will need to be welcoming of them, and accommodating of them as they struggle to adjust to what is a new (and strange) environment to them! We have adapted our Prayer Room to be a Sensory Room, where persons living with ASD can go to calm themselves down and experience a peaceful environment. And we will be making some changes (very subtle) in our worship services to help these new friends find peace, and find Jesus. The congregation will need to be flexible and open, making our new friends feel welcome and accepted. It will take all of us!
The first big event is coming up on July 30th. The Autism Prom (see the article here) will feature a wonderful atmosphere for young adults living with ASD to fellowship, snack, dance and be together. We will need chaperones, so if you are interested, let the church office know. What an opportunity to meet some new families and show them how friendly and welcoming we are!
The coordinators of Radiate Possibility are Lee Selby (formerly of Surf City Church) and her daughter Kristin Selby Gonzalez, who has a son living with ASD. Ric Seaver and myself are working with Lee and Kristin to help make this Autism Prom a reality. We are truly looking forward to it.
And there are many more events planned, in addition to making our Sunday mornings a welcoming spot for ASD families.
I believe that this can become a key to our ministry going forward. It is certainly an area of need that is under-addressed by churches in our area. And it’s a great opportunity to share the love of Jesus with people who have unique challenges and needs. Let us pray for God’s guidance and courage as we step into this new ministry of loving God’s very special people!
Check out Radiate Possibility here.