Faith and Light USA West
A community of prayer including people with developmental disabilities, their families and friends
How to Start a Faith and Light Community
1.Locate a few local supporters: If you are a parent of a child with developmental disabilities, locate at least one other parent who has an interest in establishing a Faith and Light community. You don't have to be many to begin with, but it is good to have a core of people who are commited to the effort. Ask other adults or young people who could join your group just for support although they may not have a relative with developmental disabilities. Faith and Light organizes itself around a core of parents, children with developmental disabilities and friends young and old who will accompany the families and be "friends".
2. Get the basic documents - Charter, Leader Booklets, Guidelines for the First Year. Request the leader of the Faith and Light Community nearest you to make copies, or contact the Provincial Coordinator for the same. Educate yourself from the documents, and attend a gathering of an established group.
3. Invite people to a first meeting - Follow Guidelines for the First Year. Continue meeting monthly, about two to three hours each time. Use the steps suggested in "Planning a Faith and Light Meeting" on the reverse side of this paper.
4.Inform the Provincial Vice Coordinator - Let the Vice Coordinator know that your Community is meeting. Give names and addresses for them to receive the national newsletter-they can be receiving this even while you are beginning.
5. Invite the Vice Coordinator to visit -After a year, if ready, invite the Vice Coordinator to meet the members and guide a discernment process to identify or to confirm leadership. After this step, the Vice Coordinator will inform the Provincial Coordinator that the group is ready for recognition as an established Community. This will also be announced in the national Newsletter.
6. Affiliate with a local church - This connection could be made from the beginning or after you see that the concept has been well received by twenty or so faithful members and they have been meeting long enough that you are quite sure it will continue. Depending on the structure of the church, the affiliation could be just the proximity and contacts with church members or the church might list Faith & Light as a ministry of the parish, so that all new members will be aware of it.