A place for everyone
Several years ago, a member of the congregation noticed that her grandson and his friend, both on the autism spectrum, were struggling in Sunday School.
The volunteers in the classroom did not have the training to know how to handle the excess energy and behavioral differences. This led to unpleasant confrontation and, more often than not, the boys being excused from the classroom.
Frustrated and hurt, the grandmother, Cathy, decided to act. She researched special needs ministries and found Joni and Friends. She also connected with the leader of the special needs ministry at Grace Church in Eden Prairie for advice, resources, and mentoring. In her research, she learned she was not alone in her experience; many churches struggle with ministering to special needs kids and adults. She took her findings and her passionate vision to the pastor and the church board. As a small church already stretched for volunteers, there were doubts that enough volunteers could be found to create a whole new ministry. But Cathy persisted, God provided, and Sunshine Kids was born.
Sunshine Kids students start in the service with their parents and are dismissed to class after worship.
Every child should have the opportunity to learn about Christ in a safe and comfortable environment. That includes children who may struggle to listen or focus and may learn at a different pace than others. Sunshine Kids seeks to provide a smaller, inviting environment tailored to kids who benefit from more individual attention.
Parents can rest easier when they know their child's physical and spiritual needs are being met. We recognize that parents also need a break sometimes, and church can provide a needed physical and spiritual renewal.
Sunshine Kids students are welcome to participate in our 9:30am activities as well (Nursery, Kids Zone, or Youth Sunday School, depending on age). Our Children's & Youth Minister is happy to work with you as a parent to decide how best to assist and support your child's needs in all of our ministry offerings.