Training aims to expand outreach to parishioners with disabilities


In an effort to better serve parishioners with developmental disabilities, national trainers from Chicago will be in Anchorage in July to assist parishes in launching SPRED ministries (Special Religious Development) in local parishes.

SPRED establishes faith formation groups in participating parishes with the aim of integrating those with developmental disabilities into the larger life of the parish. The outreach was first developed in Chicago in the 1960s. About a year ago, St. Andrew Church in Eagle River was the first parish in Alaska to incorporate the outreach into its faith formation programs.

The SPRED curriculum is specially designed for children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities, and one of its main goals is to make the sacraments more accessible to participants. It uses full sensory engagement, simple messages and a time to relax, focus and prepare held at the beginning of each session.

Parishes that wish to start SPRED programs are invited to attend a July 26-29 training session at St. Andrew’s.

For more information about the upcoming sessions, call Marlise James at 360-9824. Additional information about SPRED is online.

'Training aims to expand outreach to parishioners with disabilities'
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