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Aylsham church launches special needs praise

Newly re-furbished Emmanuel Church in Aylsham is launching a new monthly afternoon praise service in May aimed at those with learning disabilities. Tony Rothe reports.

Although the service is aimed specifically at people with learning disabilities, along with their families or carers, it may appeal to anyone who would like a more relaxed, informal time of worship. There will be singing, a short Bible reading and prayers, followed by refreshments, and the service will be no more than an hour long.


The afternoons will follow a regular format, so that people get used to what to expect, but within that they will be free to stand, sit, walk about, make a noise, arrive late, leave early, wave flags, play instruments, be quiet, whatever makes it easier for them to join in. There will also be someone to sign (BSL/Makaton) the services.


The Emmanuel Church building, right, has recently reopened following a major refurbishment, which includes a Changing Places toilet facility for those who need a hoist and adult changing bench to manage their personal care needs. There are also have wider doorways and a much brighter and welcoming space in which to worship. The church aims to be as inclusive as possible.


helen daniels 400ATHelen Daniels, right, from Emmanuel Church, said, “As far as we are aware, there are currently no church services in Norfolk specifically aimed at people with learning disabilities. It has been on my heart for some time to rectify this and, this seems the ideal time to start something new. According to Mencap and The Learning Disability Foundation, approx. 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability, but relatively few are found in our churches.”


Emmanuel have taken advice from the organisation ‘Count Everyone In’ (CEI), and hope to become part of this group of churches supporting those with learning disabilities to worship together. Helen says she has also visited Fenland Community Church in Cambridgeshire, which is a church for people with learning disabilities and their carers, for ideas and advice.


Helen added, “The aim of ‘Afternoon Praise’ is not to segregate people with additional needs who already attend church, but to add to their experience by enabling them to join together to worship in a way that they feel comfortable with. In addition, our prayer is that those who find regular church services inaccessible would feel able to come along to services with a more relaxed approach. Ultimately, it would be wonderful if some feel able to be part of the group leading the services, with us enabling and facilitating that.”


The first of the Afternoon Praise services will take place from 2.30pm to 3.30pm on Sunday May 14. Emmanuel Church is on Cawston Road in Aylsham, NR11 6BX.


Please contact Helen Daniels at [email protected], or on 01263 734409,  for more information or to share any particular requirements to enable you to join in.

Visit: emmanuelaylsham.com


The images are courtesy of Helen Daniels.


TonyRothe150Do you have a news story or forthcoming event relating to Christians or a church in North Norfolk?  

If so, e-mail [email protected] with details and, if possible a suitable picture. 

Tony Rothe, 24/04/2023

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