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Katie Wetherbee and I first met at a special needs ministry conference around 2010. She made a beeline to my book table and introduced herself. I attended Katieā€™s workshop and loved what she had to say. Before the end of the conference, we exchanged email addresses.

We quickly became good friends.

Maybe because we had a lot in common. We were both the parents of kids with special needs. We were both former public school teachers. We both had special education backgrounds. We shared a similar philosophy about inclusive education. We discovered that we had used many of the same strategies to create inclusive classrooms for our students. We also decided that if God had every granted us the opportunity to teach together, we would have been an administrator’s nightmare.

We also both loved to cook.

So we should have known, when we cooked up the idea to co-author a manual to equip children’s ministry volunteers to make every child welcome in their programs, that one of us would suggest using a dinner party theme to make the book hang together.

That someone was Katie. She’s the creative one.

After all, she explained (and I nodded my head enthusiastically), “Everybody eats. And chances are, church volunteers like Sunday school teachers and mid-week church club leaders and others who work with kids know a little bit about cooking and dinner parties.”

So the dinner party theme made sense to us.

But just because it made sense to us, it might not make sense to you. At least, not yet. So in the spirit of inclusion and with my teaching-to-different-learning-styles hat firmly in place, here’s a peek at Every Child Welcome’s table of contents:

To read the rest of this post and to see just what Jolene and Katie look like, go to the Not Alone website at www.specialneedsparenting.net.

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