specialneedskids-andrewkadel-stjames-lincolnca-paulaschaap-ens

St. James’s, Lincoln in the Diocese of Northern California, has member families with children on the autism spectrum, who can’t always tolerate (or get much benefit from) church that’s set up for people in the neurological mainstream. But a mom had an idea about a Christmas party, and a nearby parish has a priest who’s also a trained music therapist, and a Lutheran pastor in town was supportive. So they all worked together, filled the space with beanbag chairs and big stuffed monkeys, and put on a special-needs liturgy, including a visit by a Santa impersonator otherwise known as Fr. Andrew Kadel, priest-in-charge. One mother said of her son, “It’s huge that he’s getting so much time with Santa.” (all photos: Paula Schaap/Episcopal News Service)

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