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(Posted July 4th 2016 @ 8:34 AM by: Melody Reever)
Before there was an ABLE ministry, there were churches reaching families affected by disabilities. One such group is HOPE. Sherri explains in her own words:
"I started the HOPE (Hands Offering Peace and Encouragement) group six years ago. I wanted to reach families that had children with special abilities. I had a pretty heavy burden. I knew I wanted to reach the whole family since it affects the whole family. I spoke to our pastor, Loy McCarty, and he thought it was a great idea.
“We meet once a month at our church. We started with a few families from our church but it has expanded to people from neighboring churches and people in our community.
“We have childcare not only for the special needs child but for their siblings as well. They play games and do a craft while the moms and dads gather to share their story/journey. We found that it is harder for dads to open up and talk in a group setting so my husband, Jim Cornelius, leads a group for dads in a separate area.
“We meet and talk about our frustrations, disappointments, and accomplishments. We share resources—things that have worked for us and our children. We provide recommendations on local schools, doctors, or therapists. It is wonderful to talk to someone who lives the same kind of life that you do."
Sherri Cornelius and her husband, Jim, have attended Cornerstone Apostolic Church in Wentzville, Missouri, for fourteen years. They have three children: Brittany (28), Tyler (22), and Jimmy (15). Jimmy was diagnosed with autism while twenty months old. Sherri enjoys going to church and spending time with her family. She has a six-year-old grandson, Jacob, whom she absolutely adores.