Minster plays host to special Autism service

A SPECIAL service was held at Rotherham Minster to mark Autism Sunday.

The Minster held its seventh annual service of Holy Communion for The International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome on February 14. 

The day, also known as Autism Sunday, calls for religious organisations, community groups and leaders to speak up for people on the autism spectrum.

The service was organised with the Rotherham branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS).

Attendees included Bob Dyson, deputy lieutenant for South Yorkshire, and Mrs Susan Dyson, Maggi and Peter Clark, mayor and consort for Rotherham, and Chief Supt Jason Harwin, district commander for Rotherham at South Yorkshire Police.

Volunteers from the Rotherham branch of the NAS, as well as the people they support, were also present. 

Canon David Bliss, Vicar of Rotherham, said: “We were very proud to mark this important day for the seventh time.

“It was wonderful to see so many people at the service, thinking about the challenges and joys autism can bring to individuals, families and those around them.”

Russell Wells, from the Rotherham branch of the NAS, said: “We’re grateful to the Minster for continuing to mark this important day. 

“The International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome is a great way to raise awareness of the lifelong condition and the different ways it can affect people at different stages of their life. 

“Our branch is run by volunteers and was launched in 2008 to support local autistic people and their families. We hold monthly peer support meetings for autistic adults on the spectrum, run a number of activities for individuals and families too and do a lot of wider work raising awareness of autism. If anyone is interested in finding out more or getting involved, please visit our website.

“Autism can have a profound effect on a person and their family, but support and understanding can make all the difference.”