The Presbyterian Church of Toms River (PCTR) announced the launch of a new Special Needs Ministry designed to support families within the church and surrounding community. The program, which begins March 5th, will roll out with four different support components and may evolve further as specific needs become more apparent.
The initial support components include:
- Additional assistance in worship and church school each Sunday at the 10:15 service. This may include pairing with a one-on-one “buddy” assigned specifically to assist a child and his/her family each week.
- A monitored “sensory space” where children and their buddies can go if the classroom setting becomes overwhelming for them.
- Social gatherings for young adults with special needs or disabilities
- A support group for those who care for children with special needs/disabilities.
“Last summer, my family was blessed to attend Joni and Friends Family Retreat for the first time. During our week there we learned first-hand just how wonderful having such a support system was,” said Michael Barozzie, Director of Children’s Ministry at the church and a special needs parent. “If our family benefited from this type of love, support and assistance, I began to wonder how many families within PCTR and our community were praying for the same things and how we could be part of the solution”
“Joni and Friends is a Christ-centered organization that focuses on advancing disability ministry. Their retreats provide families with an environment that supports and ministers to the entire family,” explained Robbie Ytterberg, Senior Pastor at PCTR. “Our Special Needs Ministry team was inspired by Joni and Friends’ example and we look forward to supporting families in our community through our own ministry efforts going forward.”
Families interested in learning more about the program are invited to register on the Special Needs Ministry web page: http://pctr.org/ministries/special-needs-ministry/ or contact Michael Barozzie at MichaelB@pctr.org or 732-349-1331, ext 226. Program coordinators can answer specific questions and will help develop a plan that best meets each individual’s situation.
About Presbyterian Church of Toms River
The Presbyterian Church of Toms River (PCTR) has been a fixture in Toms River since 1852. The church offers both traditional and contemporary styles of worship with service times held on Saturday and Sunday. As a place where “faith works and people belong,” PCTR offers a variety of ministry and fellowship programs for all ages, including children’s programs, Jr and Sr. High youth groups, adult fellowship and study groups, music programs, and more. The church also works with Westminster Nursery School and the non-profit occupants of the House of Hope, both located on the PCTR campus.