My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples...
- Jesus (Matthew 21:13)
PURPOSE: To affirm the value of each person and the plan of God by providing an inclusive environment for friends with intellectual and developmental differences.
PEOPLE: An entire team has been trained, checked, and organized to make sure that people of all ages have access to typical worship experiences and accommodations for special needs.
PLACE: Everyone is welcome to stay in typical spaces whenever possible and desirable. However, if a friend with needs would benefit from a new environment, we have spaces set aside for moments of renewal and acclimation.
PROCESS: Friends & families with special needs will check in at the Buddy Kiosk in the foyer. Kids will be paired with children's buddies and will attend a typical kid's program. We have a sensory zone and play space set aside for those moments where a new scene is desirable. Adults will also be included in a typical service. They will be paired with a buddy and will be able to enter into a sensory area if needed.
TO ENSURE WE HAVE A BUDDY PREPARED FOR A GUEST WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, TEXT (904) 404-2204 to register each week.
OUR HEART FOR INCLUSION
God has been shaping University Church to be serve every segment of our community - including our friends with intellectual and developmental differences! Our Pastor, Frank Ciresi, grew up with a sister who has special needs and led us to serve at Pine Castle for many years. For the past four years, we have helped to lead Night to Shine Jacksonville. Our school has taken a leading role by 1) accepting more students with learning needs and 2) partnering with North Florida School for Special Education to provide reverse inclusion and special events such as respite nights and a daddy-daughter dance. Now, the church has assembled an entire team committed to welcoming and including guests of all ages with special needs.