By Jay Grossman
Anna Leslie never saw her son Jamie so excited to go somewhere.
The 11-year-old boy, a student at Harlan Elementary in the Birmingham school district, has autism. Getting him to feel a part of things has been a challenge over the years.
That changed suddenly when he first started attending vacation Bible school and then Sunday School at the First Presbyterian Church on Maple Road in Birmingham. The congregation reaches out to people with disabilities and lets them know they are welcome.
That spirit of inclusiveness is bringing in new families — many of whom were raised in different religions.
“You don’t know what inclusion means to a special needs parent,” Leslie said. “Jamie runs into the church so happy every week. I can’t begin to tell how they helped us in such a short time.”
The Beverly Hills family attended another church for years, but decided last month to become members of the Presbyterian church.