Christ Church, Greenville hosts only Rhythms of Grace program in South Carolina
Ms. Hedrick Lewis started as the Director of Children’s Ministry at Christ Church, Greenville nearly 4 years ago and immediately noticed a void that needed to be filled. There were quite a few families attending Sunday services with children that had special needs.
“One parent would stay home and would not come to services, usually because it was overstimulating for their child,” Lewis recalls.
A series of conversations proved that Lewis’ desires aligned with the desires of the parish community. These parents also yearned for a service designed especially with their children in mind. It took a year of prayer, planning, and discernment, but Rhythms of Grace had its first service at Christ Church in August 2017. Rhythms of Grace was originally co-founded by the Rev. Dr. Audrey Scanlan and Linda L. Snyder of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Children and their families join together to hear Bible stories, interact in therapeutic arts and crafts, and share communion in a child-friendly environment.
“What’s interesting about it is that it is very structured. There’s picture cards and the kids know exactly what’s going to happen next. It works very well for children with all different types of special needs,” Lewis says.
Don’t let the phrase “child-friendly” mislead you; Christ Church’s Rhythms of Grace services are also attended by adults with dementia. Despite the attendee’s various ages, Rhythms of Grace is a heartwarming and memorable experience for all those involved. Ms. Lewis was kind enough to share a story that solidifies the significance of Rhythms of Grace.
“We have one young man that’s in his forties and his parents bring him. He is not very verbal and has a hard time retaining information. He’ll know right at the moment what he wants, but for him to have heard something one day and then retain it the next is very rare. One Sunday, we did a Rhythms of Grace service about baptism and what it means. His parents told me that the next day, the young man was in the bathtub and was pouring water on himself and said, “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!” His family knew he retained that from the last service. No, he can’t carry on a conversation very well, but he retained that and he got what we were talking about. And they all can!”
Rhythms of Grace has also helped build a community of people that otherwise would not be in contact.
“The moms can talk to each other about the ups and the downs they’ve had during the month or what stages they’re going through with their children. The priests feel very comfortable with these families and have conversations with them. This program has really blossomed beautifully.”
Rhythms of Grace takes place on every third Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in the chapel. The next service will be on June 16. If you would like to know more about this ministry, please email Ms. Hedrick Lewis at [email protected].
Tags: Stories from EDUSC