A Story of Love
by Jeanne Olsen
To go along with our 3-part sermon series on our vision statement, we will be posting stories of love, hope and healing that feature members of our own congregation. (If you have a story to share, please contact Jeanne Olsen or Lisa Traylor.)
We’ll begin with a story of LOVE, from the Kirk family. (Dan has shared this story on his family blog, as well as with an Anglican publication called The Wave, the quarterly magazine of AMIA. But it bears repeating!)
When the Kirks first came to Light of Christ, they were nervous. Their son Edmund has autism, and it was difficult to control his behavior and occasional loud interjections. At other churches, they had been asked to keep him quiet and out of the way; they had even been told not to bring him to church if he couldn’t behave like other children. Tya and Dan rarely felt able to relax and worship in church.
At Light of Christ, they were amazed at the way that the congregation embraced their family (which includes Edmund’s younger brother Jonathan). As Dan says, “Our son was not only tolerated, but welcomed. …This is the first church that we’ve been in that expressed the sentiment, ‘We’re all in this together. We need him as much as he needs us.'” Edmund was invited to be an acolyte, and even though things didn’t go so well his first time, the family was assured that he should continue. “If the cross is crooked when he walks down the aisle, we embrace it all the more,” Father Eirik told the author of The Wave article.
In another gesture of love, congregation members noticed how difficult it was for Edmund’s family to worship when they had to be constantly attentive to Edmund, so they set up a rotation of men to sit with Edmund each Sunday. This arrangement gave Dan and Tya a much-needed break, and it fostered relationships between Edmund and other families in the church. Dan noted that with the rotation, Edmund was able to sit through more of the service, more quietly, than he was ever able to before.
Most recently, the Kirk family has been given assistance by Racine Vocational Ministry, because of their friendship with its founder, Light of Christ member Jim Schatzman. Dan was recently honored at RVM’s annual fundraising banquet as the recipient of the Rising Star award, for his hard work and persistence at work and in school at Gateway Technical College.
While they have experienced the love of Christ at LOC, the Kirk family has also been a beacon of love to other families with special needs children. Karen Cassiday, whose son Colin has cerebral palsy and Tourette’s syndrome, told The Wave reporter, “The first Sunday we attended, we fit right in and didn’t feel like the weirdest people in the pew. No one even gave my son a second glance, and when we saw Edmund as an acolyte, we knew we were home.”
Have you experienced Christ’s love, hope or healing at Light of Christ? Would you be willing to share your story? Contact Lisa Traylor or Jeanne Olsen.
Read more about the Kirk family’s experience with church attendance & autism on Dan’s blog.
July 31, 2017
May 17, 2016
March 09, 2016