Special Needs Prayer Gathering and a Sibling’s Story

by John Capaldo, Kristen Harnly November 23, 2014

A Sibling’s Story by John Capaldo

I would like to submit a glimpse as to the sphere of influence I have been given in knowing and serving those who cannot serve themselves. If you do not have someone in your life with special needs, you may think of handicapped individuals as children and adults who need to rely on the mercy and kindness of their family and friends to provide for their daily functioning and necessities. To some extent you would be right, but have you considered the impact they have on the lives of others?

I have a brother named Attilio, diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Attilio is not able to walk or even sit unsupported. He needed to be fed, clothed, toileted and bathed; totally dependent on the faithful and loving care of my Mom and Dad all during my formative years and young adulthood. I was present, helping and observing the daily effort required to give this child the same things any mother or father would want for their child. It was challenging and tiring for all of us throughout those years. However, God does not present people and circumstances in our lives without grace and blessing for both the giver and the receiver of mercy.

All during the time I served Attilio, I was being molded and shaped both in mind and spirit. God used Attilio to develop my character. He was a catalyst for the future events of my life. If Attilo was not in my life I would not have achieved my career goal to become a physical therapist and would not have become a man who has a heart for the least of these. So, what in our human understanding we may label as broken, God labels a gift. The gifts come in many forms; autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome. . . and the list goes on. But the reward, to those who serve as a family member or alongside others in the church, is an individually tailored blessing to and for your life. It is the life God has given you.

Special Needs Prayer Gathering by Kristen Harnly

Disability is a more noticeable form of the brokenness that we all experience due to the fall (Hubach). The noticeable presence of disability goes beyond the individual affected by the disability to significantly impact the entire family.

Parents and adult siblings, along with extended family, close friends, or those interested in concerns of families affected by disability are invited to come together for a separate time of discussion, mutual encouragement and prayer on Day of Prayer Sundays.

Families affected by disability face many challenges in finding opportunities to connect with one another, especially in a regional church like Tenth.  So, whether your child or loved one has a more mild or significant disability, come and join with others for encouragement and prayer. On November 30, we will get to know one another and plan for future gatherings which will begin with a topical discussion before prayer. May we use this time to grow in fulfilling the ’one anothers’ in Scripture: pray, love, build up, encourage and carry the burdens of one another! We need one another and will be strengthened as we come to our Lord in prayer together.

Join us on Sunday, November 30, at 9:00 AM, in 315 S. 17th Street, 3Rear.

For more information, email Kristen at tenthcsn@msn.com or Carroll at cwynne@tenth.org.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Capaldo and Kristen Harnly. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org