May 2023
Our Mission: Supporting lifelong faith formation in the home and congregation
Prayer Pause
Lord, here I am. How strange it is, that some days feel like hurricanes and others like glassy seas and others like nothing much at all.

Today is a cosmic shrug. My day planner says, rather conveniently, that I will not need you, cry for you, reach for you. Ordinarily, I might not think of you at all.. Except, if you don't mind, let me notice you. Show up in the small necessities and everyday graces. 

God, be bread. Be water. Be laundry. Be the coffee cup in my hands and the reason to calm down in traffic. Be the gentler tone in my insistence today that people pick up after themselves for once. Be the reason I feel loved when I catch my own reflection or feel my own self-loathing fluttering in my stomach.

Calm my mind, lift my spirit, make this dumb, ordinary day my prayer of thanks.

Kate Bowler - Prayer for This Ordinary Day from "The Lives We Actually Have"

A Message from Our President, Diane McGeoch

WAKING UP

“Contemplation is about waking up. To be contemplative is to experience an event fully, in all its aspects.” Richard Rolheiser in The Shattered Lantern

The month of April was a very busy time. I am a retired deacon but involved in several ministries in my congregation. I have volunteer roles in my community as well, and family responsibilities. Holy Week and Easter were a blur. I moved from one activity to the next, without fully appreciating or experiencing each one. I look back on that time and couldn’t remember too many specifics because the pace of life and ministry was going at warp speed.

There is a belief that the faster we move, the more we do, the more we can produce and get done. There may be no opportunity to slow down outside of days off or vacation time, and even those are hard to do in ministry. When I am on vacation, especially to somewhere I’ve never been before, I want to see and do as much as possible, and often overload the schedule. I return home more tired than when I left. I am learning gradually in retirement to slow down, take time, and be more prayerful with my activities. 

It is Well with My Soul
Autism Spectrum Resources



Blue Blessings
Blue Blessings was created by Autism Speaks to help faith communities embrace people with autism and those who love them – through small changes that can make a big difference. They offer a free, online guidebook which outlines steps to explore with faith leadership and people with autism and their families to determine what is best for your place of worship.

The Power of an Autism Diagnosis
This article from Living Lutheran provides tips to make church more accessible and is told from the point of view of a person with autism..

The Autism Faith Network
The Autism Faith Network seeks to spread autism awareness, acceptance and inclusion in local and faith-based communities all over the world. They promote four goals: awareness, timely screenings and early intervention, eliminating stigmas about autism, and encouraging acceptance and inclusion. Check out their free sensory toolkits!

Few Churches are Autism-Friendly
A new study has found children with autism are almost twice as likely to never attend church or other religious services. And children with other disabilities—like developmental delays, attention deficit disorder, or anxiety—often are missing from the pews as well. 

Autism and Children's Ministry
In children’s and family ministry, we have a unique opportunity to come alongside and support families as they discover their children’s unique abilities and interests. Engaging Disability with the Gospel share the great opportunity to set up these children for success in Sunday School classes and in worship with their families.


Our Family’s Experience with Autism
Alison Gale

Interviewer: Diane McGeoch, President
Christian Education Network of the ELCA



Tell us about yourself and your family

My husband and I have been married for 37 years. We have four children, two sons by birth, a son born in Korea, and a daughter born in China. Our daughter, Linnea, came home to us as an almost-three-year-old, with an unrepaired cleft lip and palate. She also demonstrated many institutionalized behaviors, which was not unexpected, as she had lived in an orphanage from the time she was a newborn. It was only over time, and with the help of an amazing speech therapist (and fellow church member), that we slowly came to the realization that we were also dealing with autism, speech apraxia and significant developmental disabilities. 

Describe some of your experiences raising a daughter with autism

Over the years we have experienced many challenges as we navigated the uncharted territory of Linnea’s behaviors and diagnoses, while also trying to keep up with her three active older brothers. Linnea’s preschool and early elementary school years were the most difficult, as we struggled with screaming outbursts, and destructive and aggressive behaviors that were frightening in their intensity.
We were asked to leave more than one daycare, and were close to being told she could no longer attend a public elementary school. We learned that the maze of disability services is hard to navigate, and finding the resources available can be difficult. Thankfully, as Linnea learned to communicate, first through sign language and then through speech, her frustrations eased and her more severe behaviors subsided. We were also fortunate to find good doctors and other health professionals along the way, and the services and guidance they provided over the years has been invaluable. Linnea’s three brothers are between 7-9 years older than she is, which has been a huge blessing, as they were old enough to help when needed. In their middle and high school years I would often (probably unfairly) judge their friends by how they treated Linnea. I tended to like those who “got it”, meaning they accepted Linnea for who she is and were comfortable around her. Linnea is 20 years old now, and will soon be graduating from the 18-21 year old Life Skills program in our public school district. She has amazing, unusual ideas, and a funny sense of humor. She’s good at math, and is an expert in negotiating for the things she wants. She has taught us to see things differently and has opened our eyes to new ways to experience the world around us.
Christian Education Network of the ELCA
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Vision Statement
Building a community which equips, encourages and empowers those engaged in lifelong faith formation in a changing world, the CENetwork will:

  • Identify and evaluate resources and educational opportunities
  • Facilitate communication and conversations
  • Offer guidance, networking and mutual support
  • Nurture spiritual growth online and face-to-face



How You Can Support the Christian Education Network

You can become a member or make a one-time donation via PayPal on our website; or, you can purchase from AmazonSmile and designate The Christian Education Network as your charity. We receive a percentage of the proceeds!


Contact Us

CENetwork of the ELCA
PO Box 250009
Holly Hill, FL 32125