Becoming an Autism Friendly Church


As a pastor, I have noticed an increasing number of families with special needs children, particularly those with autism, visiting our churches. In some cases these are also single-parent families. Having faced the struggle, years ago, of caring for a child with special needs along with my wife – I can’t imagine how hard that must be for a single mother. I can understand why such parents are drawn to the fellowship and community of a local church.

But how are we doing when it comes to providing the support that such parents and children are obviously looking for? Will they find the church to be the most caring place in the world? Or would they do better at their local discount supermarket?

That was the question that I had to face when God spoke to me at the checkout of Lidl. I was on my way home from a pastoral visit, and popped into Lidl to pick up the ingredients for a chicken curry. As I was packing away my naan bread, I saw a

poster advertising that supermarket’s initiative for families with autistic children.45100747_561319374338876_3128826805474033664_n

Why is Lidl doing better than most churches when it comes to caring for families with special needs children? Can we help churches to do better?

For this reason, EAI is teaming up with Philo Trust (J.John’s ministry) to host a special seminar at Swords Baptist Church on 15 March. The guest speaker is Craig Johnson from Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas – himself the father of an autistic child. Craig pioneered a ministry in Houston which has proved to be singularly effective in this area. I believe that, as Irish churches, we can learn from his experiences and insights.

The seminar starts at 12noon and is scheduled to run until 3pm. The event is free, but a light lunch is being provided, so it is essential to register in advance. You can register at Eventbrite Booking

Space at this seminar is limited, so please do register ASAP to reserve your place. If, for any reason, you struggle with using Eventbrite, then please email me at

God Bless you

Nick Park


About nickpark

Senior Pastor of the Solid Rock Church of God in Drogheda. National Overseer of the Church of God in Ireland. Executive Director of Evangelical Alliance Ireland. Husband to Janice. Father to Kirsty. Passionate about Church Planting, Missiology, Cross-Cultural Communication, and Following Jesus.
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