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Fostering accessible, inclusive and meaningful spiritual experiences and relationships.

Removing Barriers

A place where all people can experience the
transforming love of Jesus Christ.

We are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God and all have unique challenges and gifts at different times in our lives.  At Franklin First UMC, we strive to make God’s love and His message accessible to all of His people.  We strive to meet each member of the body of Christ where he or she is and provide for his or her needs as we are able.

Currently, we offer accessibility aids for Sunday morning worship, assistance during Sunday School, and a sensory room for those needing additional care.  We are also home to the Davis Wright Playground, one of the sensory, handicapped-accessible playgrounds in Middle Tennessee. For additional information about our special needs ministry, contact Carrie Altman.

Tennessee Special Needs Ministry Training Conference coming in March, 2018. Speakers and Downloads Here

 

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Room created for those with special needs.

The Davis Christian Wright Playground. An all abilities playground that’s open to the public everyday, dusk to dawn.

Covered walkway with an automatic, hands-free access.

Contact Us:

Accessibility Options

  • Parking & Hands Free Entrances
    12 Van accessible handicapped spaces are available as well automatic access doors at our covered walkway and main entrance to Fellowship Commons. You’ll also find wheelchair accessible sidewalks to all entrances of the building.
  • In Service Assistance
    You’ll find easy to reach seating areas for wheelchairs and walking aids. Also large print bulletins as requested.
  • Accessible Restrooms & Classrooms
    We have a large handicapped, unisex bathroom near the covered walkway entrance. This restroom also features an adult-size changing table. Our classrooms are also fitted with additional space at the doorways to accommodate anyone with special mobility needs.
  • Elevator
    An elevator is available for easy access to any ministry option on the second floor.

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Special Needs Workshop Hosted in March, 2018

The Tennessee Adult Special Needs Ministry Advocates is made up of special needs advocates from all denominations and backgrounds. Their challenge is for all to find families with members who have special needs and welcome them into their fellowship and ministry.

This workshop took place on Tuesday, March 13.

This team of advocates for families with Special needs goals are simple:

  • Consider who in your congregations might be effective in this role of advocating for families with members with special needs.
  • Make sure these advocates are supported by the church’s leadership
  • Develop a list of responsibilities for the advocate and the team
  • Encourage the advocates to be proactive in identifying and addressing needs.
  • Follow up regularly to communicate care to those members and their families.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of min, you did for me.”  Matthew 25:40

You can contact TN Adult Special Needs Ministry Advocates at tn.asnmadvocates@gmail.com

Keynote Speakers:

by Eric W. Carter, PhD, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Downloads:

CongregationPracticeGuide (conference)

Dr. Erik Carter is a Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education and a researcher with Vanderbilt’s Kennedy Center. He completed his undergraduate studies in Christian Education at Wheaton College and his graduate studies in severe disabilities from Vanderbilt University. His research and writing focus on promoting inclusion and valued roles in school, work, and congregational settings for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He co-leads the Collaborative on Faith and Disability and the Putting Faith to Work project, as well as partners with a core group of faculty to host the annual Summer Institute on Theology and Disability. He has co-authored 150 articles and six books, one of which is Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities: A Guide for Service Providers, Families, and Congregations. He is currently working on a book addressing belonging and the church.

by Whitney A. Loring, Psy.D., Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Downloads

Developing Special Needs Ministries

Dr. Whitney Loring, Psy.D. Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

As part of the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD)’s Professional Development and Training team, Whitney Loring’s responsibilities include developing and conducting trainings and consultation for parents, educators, and providers in the community regarding evidence-based assessment and intervention strategies for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. She has worked with families and a variety of faith-based communities to promote inclusion for individuals with disabilities and has personally utilized these same approaches during her work over the past 20 years as a children’s Bible class teacher.

by Pam Harmon, Vice President, Young Life Capernaum
by Gary Shrader, Executive Pastor, Fourth Avenue Church of Christ

Gary Shrader comes to Fourth Avenue after retiring from Williamson County Schools after 30 years as a teacher, coach, and principal. Gary will work with the staff, members, ministries, and shepherds to serve the congregation and community. Gary and his family have been involved members at Fourth Avenue for 15 years. Gary and Lydia have been married for 27 years, and have 3 boys: Brad, 24, Bryan, 19, and Cameron, 17.  Lydia is a retired teacher, and now works as a sitter with the elderly.  They enjoy travel, nature, gardening, and photography.

Breakouts:

by Eric W. Carter, PhD, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Dr. Erik Carter is a Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education and a researcher with Vanderbilt’s Kennedy Center. He completed his undergraduate studies in Christian Education at Wheaton College and his graduate studies in severe disabilities from Vanderbilt University. His research and writing focus on promoting inclusion and valued roles in school, work, and congregational settings for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He co-leads the Collaborative on Faith and Disability and the Putting Faith to Work project, as well as partners with a core group of faculty to host the annual Summer Institute on Theology and Disability. He has co-authored 150 articles and six books, one of which is Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities: A Guide for Service Providers, Families, and Congregations. He is currently working on a book addressing belonging and the church.

by Angie Kelly, Grace Chapel Church

Downloads:

Grace Night

Conference- (sharable slide show)

Angie Kelly and her husband Wayne, along with their 2 sons, Justin and Kendall, have attended Grace Chapel since 2012.  Angie knew working with children was her calling from a very young age and has done so in many different facets ever since she was a teenager. She was blessed to be introduced to working with children with special needs many years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Angie feels that the most innocent and joyful place in the world is to be in the presence of God’s special ones. She is very excited to join her love for children, special needs and serving others to support our wonderful families and volunteers through the blessing of this ministry.

by Gigi Sanders, Christ Presbyterian Academy and Tiffany McCollough, Brentwood Baptist Church

Gigi Sanders

I have been married 31 years to sweet Carl, with 5 treasured children, and have a background in nursing.  Currently I am the Director of the Special Needs Ministry, and I have been with serving with Christ Presbyterian Church Special Needs Ministry since 2005.  Being with families with special needs has been life changing for my family and me!”

by Whitney A. Loring, Psy.D., Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Dr. Whitney Loring, Psy.D. Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

As part of the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD)’s Professional Development and Training team, Whitney Loring’s responsibilities include developing and conducting trainings and consultation for parents, educators, and providers in the community regarding evidence-based assessment and intervention strategies for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Her research interests include developing and evaluating intervention strategies that address behavioral pediatric concerns for children with autism spectrum disorders (e.g., sleep concerns, toileting difficulties) and the effectiveness of various models of parent training and consultation.

by Suzanne Williams, Young Life Capernaum

Suzanne Williams is the Capernaum Coordinator of the Southeastern Division for Young Life.  She has been on Young Life staff for seventeen years, working with kids both with and without disabilities.  Her great joy comes from watching kids with disabilities come to know the deep love of Jesus through relationships, adventure, experience and community.  Suzanne resides in Nashville with her husband Christopher and their son, Hudson.