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Chester County Press

Avondale Presbyterian begins service for those with developmental differences

09/15/2016 01:15PM ● By J. Chambless

Kathy Barto will lead a new service at Avondale Presbyterian Church for people of all ages and abilities.

As the mother of a daughter with an intellectual disability, Kathy Barto knows what it's like for families with special needs individuals who don’t attend church because they have never found it to be a comfortable, stress-free setting.

Beginning on Oct. 2 at 11 a.m., Avondale Presbyterian Church is changing that.

Every Sunday, the church, located at 420 Pennsylvania Avenue in Avondale, will offer “My Special Worship Service” where people of all ages and abilities can come to worship. Barto said, “In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’”

Traditional services are generally quiet and reflective, especially during the sermon and Holy Communion. “If people want to talk during My Special Worship Service – they are welcome to talk,” Barto said. “They are also welcome to dance, sing and shout, if they are so moved.”

The half-hour service will include music, singing, scripture, prayer, and a short message. A freewill offering will be received. After worship, there will be a social time in the Great Hall. The goal of the worship service is to help children and adults with physical, mental, and developmental differences -- and their caregivers, friends, and relatives – become part of a church family.

For more information, visit or call 610-235-9544. The church has a supervised Sensory Room addressing all seven senses. Parking for the physically disabled is available. The facility is fully wheelchair accessible, with an elevator as well as ADA bathrooms. Personal sound systems for the hearing impaired are available in the sanctuary.  

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