RICHMOND, Va. -- Singing, praising and worshiping fill the air at Destiny Community Church week after week, but this Sunday, the church will go off script just a bit during Autism Acceptance Month.
That is because Bishop Ernest Moore Jr. says he was guided by his spirit to educate his members about the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.
"Sunday is about enlightenment about autism and how it impacts people and how do we make room for them," Moore explained. "That’s really what we are passionate about. Making room for those that may be left out."
The South Richmond church will open its doors to the Autism Society of Central Virginia and introduce participants to an Autism 101 session.
The community-based program provides local organizations with training and resources to enhance inclusion of individuals with autism and their families.
Expert Rachel Pretlow will help citizens identify common characteristics of those with autism, challenge myths and misconceptions as well as discuss strategies for allying with the autism community.
"We reach out to organizations like that, and we depend on organizations like that, to educate us so we will be prepared. Because it’s all about how we share and care for our community," Moore said.
The Autism 101 session, which is open to anyone, will be held at Destiny Community Church at 2101 Keswick Avenue on Sunday, April 30 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
"Our objective is that we will become a hug for those that want to worship and be a part of the faith community," Moore said. "We also want to train other faith communities, so hopefully this will be a new coalition. That is really my vision as a bishop to do that all over the city and the region."
That is something Moore hopes will be a comfort for families.
"Because in those situations, it can be so heavy. As a faith leader, we provide hope and help," Moore said "So that's my prayer that families watching this interview will know there is a faith community that is praying for you, that’s present for you and we will welcome you."
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