Urban Saints announced today that, in a significant move to develop and grow our already vibrant additional needs and disability ministry, current Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mark Arnold will be repositioned into a new role as Additional Needs Ministry Director.
Having already seen considerable growth in this important ministry area, which recognises that 20% of children and young people have additional needs or a disability of some kind, we are making a bold move to continue to be at the forefront of this ministry area nationally.
New CEO Richard Langmead says; “I am delighted to share with you that, as part of our new strategy, Mark Arnold will be moving into a new role helping to put Urban Saints at the leading edge of inclusion and wellbeing for children and young people in the UK and Ireland.”
As well as his previous COO role, Mark Arnold has overseen the launch and rapid growth of Urban Saints additional needs ministry, including the ‘All Inclusive?’ training events which has been delivered to thousands of children’s, youth and church leaders. Mark is also co-founder of the ‘Additional Needs Alliance’, a collective of organisations, children’s & youth workers, parents and more who share a passion for making a positive difference for children and young people with additional needs.
Mark Arnold says; “I am so thrilled by the opportunities that this full-time additional needs ministry role will bring, to help many more children’s, youth and families workers reach out an include everyone, including those with additional needs and disabilities. It's so important to help everyone belong and truly feel at home in their group, to be able to develop and grow on their faith journey. As a parent of a young person with additional needs myself, I know how hard this can be for families, and as a youth worker I know how others are desperate for ideas and inspiration as they try to respond to this need. Together we can make a difference, see transformation, see everyone able to be included, truly belong, and be impacted by the love of Jesus Christ.”
"Strong message to the church and the community"
Recently, we had the opportunity to give thanks for the incredible difference this makes when Mark received a letter with a testimony from Beckie, a mother of a child with additional needs, who attends a church with whom we have worked. She writes:
“(Attending) the ‘All Inclusive?’ training event run by Mark Arnold of Urban Saints encouraged the creation of an inclusion officer role at church and a whole host of other practical measures that support inclusion of SEN families. These steps have helped us as a family to feel welcomed and included in the church. It also has helped our other daughter who does not have special needs.”
“An inclusive church not only sends out an important message to those families affected by additional needs, it also sends an important message to the rest of the congregation. Moreover, it is a fantastic evangelistic opportunity. Many families with members with additional needs literally have nowhere they can go where they feel genuinely welcomed. Since St Paul’s has implemented the suggestions of the ‘All Inclusive?’ event we have felt able to invite along other families with additional needs.“
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