The Carpenter’s Class at WMUMC is an active Sunday School class for all who experience mental or developmental disability. The class welcomes anyone regardless of age or religious background. It is our desire to offer all people the happy experience of learning about God and receiving the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. At Warwick the class members have a class to call their own and they have wonderful friends with whom to worship. Notice that our name is spelled “Carpenter’s” in the singular. That is because we are Jesus’ class. We chose our name because we belong to Him and because He was taught by His father to be a carpenter.
The seed idea for the class came from a desire to include in our congregation families whose members experience mental or developmental disability. When there is no welcoming place for those with disabilities, families feel that they are not welcome. It became obvious that there were those in our church community who were not attending because there was no place for their disabled family members.
The initial funding for furnishings and supplies for the class came from a Children’s Initiative Grant from the Virginia Conference Board of Discipleship and Children’s Ministries. The class is grateful for that initial boost and the supplies that we were able to obtain through the money we were given.
Our first meeting was on Mother’s Day 1999. Over the past fourteen years we have welcomed many people to the class whose family members have become actively involved in a variety of church activities. The church is a powerful place in the lives of our class members.
Each class session includes prayer, Bible study, sometimes crafts or drama, and always worship. Mary Ellen Cochrane teaches the class. She enjoyed a long career in speech/language pathology where she worked with those who may mental developmental, medical and behavioral issues. Class lesson plans sometimes come from the “Bridges” curriculum published by Cokesbury. More often, Mary Ellen writes the curriculum in order to best meet the needs and interests of the students. There are a number of qualified substitutes who work with the class. They, too, have invaluable experience in working with students who have disabilities.
The class members would be delighted for you to visit on any Sunday morning during the Sunday school hour. We guarantee that you will enjoy our class, and we would be glad to welcome you.