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FBC Alabaster starts special-needs classescomment (0)

July 20, 2006

Two special-needs Sunday School classes recently opened at First Baptist Church, Alabaster, continuing the steady growth of a niche ministry that has been prevalent in Shelby Baptist Association and across the state for several years.
“There has been a consistent growth in interest (in special-needs classes),” said Sherron Culpepper, consultant for special-needs ministries with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM).
At First, Alabaster, the initial inquiry came from member Drew Ann Long, whose 5-year-old daughter, Caroline, has special needs. Caroline had outgrown the 1-year-olds class she attended but still needed a place to take naps, Long said, adding that she knew other families in her area had the same plight.
“Shelby County prides itself on the school system’s special-ed program,” she said. “These classrooms are full and kids’ families need to worship.”
The new Sunday School classes, designed for preschool through middle school-age children, are not “baby-sitting,” Long said, but employ special-education teachers with master’s degrees who integrate crafts, stories and music.
The church has plans to expand the program to Sunday and Wednesday nights, offer a parents’ night out and plan a support group for parents of special-needs children.
“They’re doing some innovative things at First Baptist Church, Alabaster,” said Hugh Richardson, director of missions for Shelby Association. 
Some of its sister churches in the area, such as First Baptist, Helena, and Westwood Baptist, Alabaster, also have ever-growing special-needs ministries.
“And North Shelby Baptist Church just had an Easter egg hunt for blind kids,” Richardson said. “When you find creative ways to touch people’s lives, you minister to the whole family as well.”
For more information on special-needs Sunday School classes, call the Sunday School office at SBOM at 1-800-264-1225, Ext. 286. (TAB)

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