Special Needs

Indispensable Body Parts

At Grace, we are seeking to be a church in which God’s unlimited grace inspires all generations and peoples to follow Christ. All peoples include children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. Remarkably, when we come alongside people touched by disability, their lives and the lives of everyone in the church are improved. “The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:22).

Children’s Special Needs Ministry

Grace Presbyterian believes ALL children are indispensable members of the Grace family. We cherish our Special Needs children as God’s gifts to our congregation.

We strive to have every child participate in our activities with the rest of the group. We place special needs children with a teacher who especially loves them and patiently teaches your child in the way they best learn. If your child needs extra support, they will be paired with a trained Buddy who will give them the extra help and comfort they need. If needed, we also have “break out rooms” for those times your child needs a quiet place or access to various manipulatives and activities.

We have many events, just for Special Needs Families, including Drop-in Date Nights, and Family Open Gym.


If possible, please register your Special Needs child before attending so we can be sure to have the support they need waiting for them when you arrive. After filling out the form, our Special Needs Coordinator will contact you to discuss the special needs your child has and the best way we can support your family.


Adult Special Education Class

Resuming in September 2021, Grace will offer an adult special education Sunday school class that will meet from 9:30 – 11 a.m. each Sunday. All adults with intellectual disabilities are invited to participate.

As we prepare to resume the class in September, we are seeking to add volunteers to our team. Volunteers may work directly with the class participants or may serve in one of several organizational and logistical volunteer positions. If would like to join the adult special education volunteer team, please email program coordinators Russ and Robin Fahlberg.

Coordinator Positions:

  • Communication Coordinator — With class attendance generally between 30-40 people weekly, there is a constant need for more volunteer workers, and support. The Communications Coordinator works to inform the congregation of these needs. They ensure the needs are communicated through prayer lists, short talks to groups, and other media. They coordinate with those at Grace working on website, social media, app, and other communications of the church, to ensure information is current. They develop media to educate the congregation about the Special Education Sunday School, and research facts on the Peoria area Special Needs Community.
  • Volunteer Coordinator — It is difficult to serve others if your spiritual needs are not being addressed. The Volunteer Coordinator works with the Special Education volunteer workers to help meet their spiritual needs. Some volunteer workers are already active and involved at Grace Presbyterian, and all that is needed is a thank you once in a while. Other volunteer workers are new to Grace, and may also be new Christians. The Volunteer Coordinator ensures through regular contact these workers’ needs are known, and suggests ways to meet them, so they may grow as Christians. This may be through a regular or semi-regular meeting over coffee, or through phone calls or emails. The Volunteer Coordinator also solicits input to the class, and how to improve it.
  • Transportation Recruitment Coordinator — Most adults are able to go to church for worship services, Bible studies, or other activities when they choose to. Most of the Adult Special Education Sunday School class students are not able to do this, as they live in group homes or with host families, and lack transportation. Grace Presbyterian picks up students for Sunday School, most recently using 2 buses each Sunday. The buses are owned by the church. There is a great shortage of licensed bus drivers in the Peoria area, and a great need for additional drivers at Grace. The Transportation Recruitment Coordinator works to assist in getting more qualified drivers. They meet with anyone who is interested and determine if they are qualified, and/or would be willing to become qualified, to drive the Grace buses. They also determine availability and are a contact point for anyone wanting to use the buses, and/or need a driver for a bus. They research programs in the area to qualify drivers to get the licenses needed.

Other Volunteer Positions:

  • Table teachers — Our classroom is set up with tables. Students tend to pick the same place to sit every week. The table teacher sits with that group of students and becomes a trusted counselor and friend, and helps as necessary during the weekly craft project or if a student needs help with physical needs.
  • Bus drivers — These drivers require CDL certification and periodic drug screening. They pick up students from group homes before class and return them to the homes after class. Grace owns the buses.
  • Bus helpers — Because some students require assistance getting on and off the bus, we also have positions for bus helpers.
  • Snacks and coffee bar servants — Provide drinks and food (purchased by the church) for the students.
  • Craft preparers and helpers — Create crafts and help the students participate in them.
  • Bathroom helpers — Male and female.