SPRED (Special Religious Development) is a small faith community in a parish which includes children or adults with special needs. SPRED integrates people with developmental disabilities more fully into the mainstream of parish life: it offers faith formation, gives parishioners an inviting place and opportunity to connect with persons with disabilities, and offers ways to more fully include persons with disabilities into the liturgy. The SPRED method creates an awareness of God while giving our SPRED friends a sense that they are loved by God and are persons of honor and dignity. Our SPRED friends learn to know God.
What is a SPRED community?
Up to eight volunteers from the parish agree to take SPRED training to learn how to offer appropriate religious education for children or adults with special needs. Three of these volunteers agree to take additional training as team leaders. These volunteers form a small community of faith—people who enter into friendship and agree to welcome up to six friends with special needs. The volunteers decide on an age group depending on the greatest need of the community: children 6-10; youth 11-16; young adults 17-21; or adults 22+. The group agrees to follow the standards of the SPRED agency.
Our Lady of Divine Providence serves a group of adults ages 22 and older. SPRED catechists meet twice a month in a group setting, first as a catechist’s adult group, and the second time our SPRED friends join us. We are looking for warm, friendly, faith-filled people to join our SPRED group as catechists. No background is needed, and training is provided. To get a better idea of a SPRED session with friends, watch a video at spredmilwaukee.org. For more information, please contact our parish chairperson, Kathy Tolbert, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit spredmilwaukee.org.