Autism Sunday celebrated with church gift at Glasgow service
Published on 14 February 2023 2 minutes read
A project to create church for the autistic community received almost £7000 towards its work as it celebrated Autism Sunday at the weekend.
Partick South Parish Church in Glasgow hosted the special service of thanksgiving and celebration for Autism Sunday, which is marked on the second Sunday of February.
The service also provided an opportunity to celebrate the gift of £6,831 from Netherlee and Stamperland Church to St Thorlak's Community. This will be used to help develop services for autistic worshippers and their families.
St Thorlak's Community is a pioneer initiative developed by a group led by Steven Owens, a ministry candidate in the Church of Scotland who has also worked for Autism Scotland.
Together with Rev Andy McIntyre, minister of Partick South Parish Church, he aims to support churches in Scotland become more accessible to people with autism.
To achieve this aim, St Thorlak's Community will develop a range of activities in consultation with the autistic community.
Mr Owens said: "St Thorlak's Community is in the very early stages of development but will aim to offer activity that will benefit autistic people. The community will provide an opportunity to provide support to autistic people and their families from a Christian community.
"We anticipate that a new worshipping community will develop over time as a result of this."
St Thorlak is the Patron Saint of Iceland and in recent years an autistic group in the United States has called for the recognition of Thorlak as patron saint of autistic people.
The donation from the Netherlee and Stamperland congregation followed the sale of the contents of Stamperland Kirk in Clarkston, which closed last summer after the congregation united with Netherlee Church.
Both congregations have well established links with the Isobel Mair School in Newton Means which supports children with autism and other special educational needs and is named after the wife of a former Netherlee minister.
Rev Scott Blythe, the current minister of Netherlee and Stamperland Parish Church, said: "The idea to support the development of St Thorlak's Community came from the people of Stamperland.
"We are pleased that a new community will be enabled to grow following the sale of items from the former Stamperland Church building."
The St Thorlak team will be developing a website in the coming months as well as a social media presence.