For families with special needs children, worshiping together is often a challenge because the church does not offer anything for their child. Christ Church is working to change that.

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Our Special Needs Ministry offers a weekly Sunday school class and activities throughout the year for special needs children and their families. In addition to providing programming, we also assist other churches in starting Special Needs Ministries and providing resources for families in their congregation.

“We want our community to know that Christ Church supports them and their families,” said Ashley Parks, Special Needs Ministry director. “We would love to see CUMC be a special needs hub for their families where they can learn about Christ as a ‘whole’ family and find valuable community resources for their children in the process. If we’re not the right place for them, we will help them find the right place.”

On a recent Friday night, more than 50 organizations and churches came together for Memphis Bridges the Gap, a resource marketplace for families with special needs children of all ages and disabilities. Sponsored by Christ Church, Young Life Memphis Capernaum and Second Presbyterian Church’s Special Friends Ministry, the evening allowed parents to share ideas, advice and encouragement and learn about resources available to them.

Rev. Shane Stanford spoke on the importance of the church as a whole helping our special needs families, and Nancy and Hamp Holcomb shared the challenges and joys of raising their son Jay who had spina bifida.

While parents were in Seabrook Hall, Parents Night Out and Young Life Capernaum Club offered activities for kids.

Ashley has received lots of positive feedback about the evening and hopes it becomes an annual event.

I had my passion re-ignited to be an advocate again because I see the need and love the new things in our community. –Brenda Hale

I just want to say that y’all are awesome! … We made lots of contacts as well for our camp and our family. Keep up the great work in helping these families. –Mark Price

Wow! What an event! … I thought I was pretty plugged in to the disability community as I still work with some kids who have special needs, but I was introduced to some new programs that are offering much-needed services. This was a blessing to families who need to know services that are available. It was an incredible evening. –Jean Phebus

To learn more about the Special Needs Ministry, visit or contact Ashley at 261-2153.


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