Families with children that have learning challenges and behavioral issues are not only "welcome" at St. Gabriel's, they are one in the body of Christ; this is an cherished component of our identity of inclusion.
Children with special needs attend Sunday School for their lifelong Christian formation and are invited to participate in the liturgical ministries of the congregation including greeting, reading, and serving at the altar as acolytes. Everyone at St. Gabriel's is encouraged and invited to learn, grow, and serve the needs of other people through our congregational outreach and service.
When a person with learning disabilities has a "moment" during one of our worship services, the members of St. Gabriel's will NOT look over their shoulder and glare at them; on the contrary, we strive to embrace, love, and support that person and their family members.
The Interfaith Spirituality and Support Group for Parents of Children with disabilities - A network for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities who use their faith as a resource to cope. Starting in September, 2016 the group will alternate meeting times, Wednesday's from 9:30 to 11am and one evening the alternating week at a date and time to be determined. Stay tuned! This ministry is a collaboration between St. Gabriel's and Paxton Campus and is facilitated by Jennifer Lassiter, Executive Director of Paxton Campus in partnership and Fr. Daniel Vélez along with a diverse group of spiritual companions. For more information please contact the church office.
Saint Gabriel´s in the news: Parishioner helped provide permanent housing for two people with disabilities.
Saint Gabrielite, Parker Gallagher, identified and coordinated mobile home move to Leesburg for Linda Huffman and her son Phillip Coe, both with disabilities. They will now be able to live independently and stay together. Read the Loudoun Now news article here.
Worshipers with Disabilities Search for Acceptance
Few are the churches that would say you are not welcome as God made you, but how do the members of that church put those words into practice? We aim to be the church that integrates the child and families and that provides a safe, comfortable environment even if a child on the autism spectrum has a moment during the sermon or other part of our service. At St. Gabriel's we continue to develop our culture of inclusivity and acceptance; yes, developing because a culture is not statically developed, it takes time, love, patience, compassion, consistency, persistence, tenacity...it is spiritual work. Please read this article from the perspective of a worshiper with disabilities and please help St. Gabriel's develop it's culture of inclusivity.