Special Needs Ministry

Welcome to Open Arms Ministry

For over 25 years, APC has welcomed all members of our local community with open arms. We provide adaptive worship services, Sunday school classes, Parents’ Nights Out, young adult small groups and support activities for our members as well as for families in the Alpharetta area.

Open Arms REGISTRATION Form Open Arms VOLUNTEER Link

 

Send an email to our Director of Open Arms Ministry, Lara Wagner Moore.

 

 

Current Programs

Promise Class (Sunday School) for Children and Young Adults
During the school year, we offer a Christian education class for children and young adults with trained caregivers for special needs. We call this class the Promise Class and it is located in the Garden Room (106) downstairs. The Promise Class is faith-based with adaptive learning styles filled with fun activities, while providing respite during worship for families. Our classes are provided during both the 9:30am and 11:00 am worship services. For more information, contact our Director of Open Arms, Lara Wagner Moore.

 

Young Women’s Small Group
Our small group for young women with special needs meets once a month for conversation, snacks, and a faith activity. Our meeting day and time changes depending on everyone’s schedules, so please contact Lara Wagner Moore to be added to the email list. We would love to have more young women join us!

 

Parents’ Night Out: Childcare Provided Events
Quarterly events are provided to care for and support children with special needs. Parents are given a night out to safely enjoy time away, while the children and young adults participate in a fun-filled night of activities. Our first evening event will be posted on the Open Arms calendar soon, so be sure to sign up when dates are posted.

 

SNAPS: Special Needs Advocates and Parents Supper
Advocates and parents of children with special needs, join us for a night out of fellowship and support while meeting up at a local spot for a meal. Childcare is not provided for these events. Please check back as we update the calendar.

 

Open Arms Worship Services
We offer modified and adaptive worship services throughout our calendar year to provide worship tailored for our Open Arms families. These services include music, short sermons and fellowship. We have accommodations including our usual hearing augmentation system, large print bulletins, adaptive bulletins, hymn sheets, accessible parking, and automatic door openers. This is all to create an inclusive environment for worshipping together.

 

APC’s Open Arms Program in the News
June 13, 2022  The Presbyterian Outlook

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. Who is the Director?
A. APC’s Director of Open Arms Ministry is Lara Wagner Moore (aka “Ms. Shoes”). Lara and her family have been a part of APC for over a decade and she has been involved in several ministries, including APC Dayschool, Choir, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Open Arms Worship. Lara has a bachelor’s degree in religion from Hope College (Holland, Michigan) and a master’s degree in special education from Lewis University (Romeoville, IL). She is a certified teacher for ages 3-21 and has specialization in Autism. She is also ASL trained. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Lara.

Q. If my family are not members of the church, can we still attend and sign up for activities?
A.  Absolutely. Open Arms is an outreach ministry which provides activities and respite for families and caregivers. Our Sunday school class has a walk-in policy, but we do like to have information on any new student. So please plan to fill out our Open Arms Ministry Registration Form. The rest of the events on the Open Arms Calendar of Events have links for sign-ups.

Q. If we want to participate in any Open Arms programming, what forms should I fill out?
A.  To speed up the process of drop-off for a specified service or event, we ask that families fill out our Open Arms Ministry Registration Form to help provide the most comprehensive service. Our program is here to provide fun and fellowship for our Open Arms population. With that said, we hope to have informed caregivers so that everyone is able to enjoy and participate during their time with us.

Q. What are the student-to-staff ratios for the program?
A.  The policy for all of APC’s programs involving children and youth requires at least two approved volunteers. However, for larger events we staff with more volunteers based on attendance numbers. Our program is here to provide chaperoned events where families know their children are safe and well taken care of during their time with our Open Arms team. This process for our volunteers requires a background check and training with our Child and Youth Safety Policies and Procedures

Q. How do I sign up to volunteer with the Open Arms Ministry?
A.  The process to volunteer involves a few short steps in order to be qualified for our team. We ask each volunteer to complete a background check and attend a short training session with our Director. After completion of both items, you are ready to serve. At that point, you may use the Open Arms Volunteer Staff SignUp Genius link to sign up.