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  • Writer's pictureKrista Bontrager

Loving Parents of Children with Special Needs

Guest: Rhianna Sanford; Helping the local church support special needs families

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Segment #1: Interview with Rhianna Sanford

Rhianna is a dear member of our CFBU family! She has been walking the journey of having a child with special needs for the last 17+ years now. She shared her heart and expertise, which provided great encouragement and practical application.

Rhianna offered some tips and explained some of the challenges that parents of special needs children may face:

  • The need to process and grieve over hopes & dreams that may be lost

  • Feeling secluded and alone (in the world and even in the church)

  • Few accommodations at church, so many have to miss church or keep child in the service

Rhianna's advice:

  • Be curious; asking questions shows you care! Teach children to ask questions also and not just stare

  • Don't say, "I'm sorry" (devalues the person with a disability)

  • Invite the special needs family over for dinner or offer to provide a meal

  • Offer to meet up for coffee to get to know the parent and demonstrate curiosity, kindness, support

What can the local church do to support special needs families?

  • Don't be afraid to have conversations about this topic!

  • If you are trained/skilled in this area, serve in your congregation. (We are family!)

  • Provide training for children's ministry volunteers.

  • Utilize teenagers to help. They can be a huge asset when working with special needs children.

Krista also presented a 2-part teaching series on the topic of the dignity of the developmentally disabled this past week.

As the use of genetic pre-natal testing continues to rise, it is vital for Christians to understand the historic position about the sanctity of life. In part 1 of this two part series, theologian, Krista Bontrager, lays out the biblical case for the dignity of the developmentally disabled.

Being created in the image of God doesn't just inform how we think about race issues. It also extends to honoring the dignity of the disabled. Join theologian, Krista Bontrager, for a frank and practical discussion with her aunt and uncle about their journey to take care of their adult child who is developmentally disabled and the role their faith has played in that journey. Special Guests: Rev. Virgil T. Leih and Pat Sandburg Leih


Pick up a copy or share with a friend!

Rhianna also has a book on identity for teen girls, The Identity of Purity: A Teenage Girl's Guide to Sexual Purity

Connect with the guest


Segment #2: Announcements and Tweet of the Week

Check out Monique's livestream last week with Elizabeth Urbanowicz from Foundation Worldview.

Tweet of the Week:

Segment #2 Resources


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