All Are Welcome
A faith inclusion training program
for places of worship.
Funded through a grant from the
South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council.
Attend a FREE All Are Welcome workshop
at the Upstate Autism Forum on August 6th.
Click here for more information.
An individual's spiritual life is an important area of one's life. Having a disability does not take that importance away. Unfortunately, many families affected by a disability often feel unwelcomed in the faith community.
All Are Welcome provides a turnkey training for faith communities and spiritual leaders to help them become a warm and welcoming community for all, including those affected by disabilities.
After all, if we can not have inclusion in God's house, what chance is there for the rest of society?
Faith & Disabilities
Our faith has the capacity to sustain us, heal us, reinvigorate us, open up the awareness of a greater power, and to provide us with a community within our church, synagogue, or mosque. But for many people with disabilities and their families, they do not feel welcomed into the faith community.
There are many reasons for individuals with disabilities and their families not necessarily feeling welcomed in the faith community. But one's spiritual life is a large part of one's identity and when they do not feel welcomed into a faith community, something is deeply lost for them.
Families with children with disabilities often feel unwelcomed because of the looks they get in the pews or the comments made about their children making noise or movements that they can not control. Families often report feeling isolated or shunned by others at church. Many families decide it is not worth attending any more, which can lead to even more of an isolated feeling. Families are often unable to fully participate in the fellowship life of the church because of the care that their child with special needs may require.
An inclusive faith community commits to sharing one another's joys and challenges. Included members love, respect and treasure each other; nurture and support one another on a journey through faith; and use their gifts and graces in ministry. This commitment does not change with the experience of a disability.
But being included means more than just being in a community, it means being a full participant with the community, in all aspects of the community -- from physical space to attitudes. A community where all are welcome means that they are barrier free, accessible, accepting and engaging. A truly welcoming faith community is one that is open to making accommodations, communication, and develop strategies to build a community where all members can grow and flourish. It is a community that looks at the needs of the fully family and ministers to those needs. It is a community where everyone is able to and encouraged to share their gifts and to contribute to the community as a full partner, regardless if they have a disability or not or a loved one with a disability or not.
An inclusive faith community is one where All Are Welcomed!
Craig Stoxen, President & CEO
South Carolina Autism Society
806 12th Street, West Columbia, SC 29169
Susan Leiby *
South Carolina Autism Society
5 Century Drive, Suite 132, Greenville, SC 29607
WC Hoecke, Family Connection of South Carolina (Chair) *+
Dale Savage, North Greenville University (Narrator) *
Redick Loring, Partners in Policymaking (retired) *
Skeeter Powell, David’s Table
Lyle Jacks, Baptist Easley *
Susie Phillips, SC Autism Society *
Kimberly Scoles, Early Autism Project *
Christina Emrich *
Alex Perry *
* Family Member OR Individual with a disability
Contact The Project Coordinator for All Are Welcome is Susan Leiby.
to email Susan, or contact her as follows: SCAS, 5 Century Drive, Suite 132, Greenville, SC 29607, phone 864-241-8669. Are Welcome is a grant awarded to the SC Autism Society and funded by The Developmental Disability Council of SC.
The Project Coordinator for All Are Welcome is Susan Leiby. Click here to email Susan, or contact her as follows: SCAS, 5 Century Drive, Suite 132, Greenville, SC 29607, phone 864-241-8669. Are Welcome is a grant awarded to the SC Autism Society and funded by The Developmental Disability Council of SC.