b"During the pandemic, Morrow Methodist Church continued to hold youth choir re-hearsals and Sunday School online. Being able to continue participating in the life of the church has meant the world to 7-year-old Charlotte. who found solace in the church overoldCharlotte,hasDownSyndrome the course of the shutdown. and is therefore at high risk for com-ReverendBrendaEhlers,theplications from COVID, to continue youthministeratMorrowMethod- participating in the life of the church.istChurchonBakerStreet,quicklyCharlottealsohasdoneweekly switchedthechurchspopularyouthZoom Sunday School. Hers is a class groups, which attract middleofjustthree,includingher and high schoolers frombrother.Andthecon-a variety of faith tra- nection to that classs ditions, to Zoom;Individuals withteacher,Maggie whenZoomsignificant disabilitiesTuohy,hascon-fatiguesetin,(ordinarily) dont havetributedto she worked toCharlotte's hold outdoorrelationships with peoplewell-being. m e e t i n g swho are not paid to be with M a g g i e maskedthem, Mary Beth Walsh says.knowshow andsociallyBut in church, her son, Bentoreach d i s t a n c e dHack, and others like him, arethroughthat asoftensurrounded by people whoc o m p u t e r aspossible,are compassionate andscreen,Geh-evenwhentherkesays.And weatherwasnotprotective. shes so kind and fully cooperative. compassionate.ThatextraeffortHaving these other wasmeaningfultoDo- adults in her childrens lives reenOliver,whose15-year-oldis important, says Gehrke. They son is autistic and regularly attends thetalktoandarearoundadults,other Junior Youth Fellowship (JYF) meet- than their parents, who love them.ing.BrendaEhlersdoesawonder- Hacksmothermakesasimilar ful job, Oliver says, noting how thispoint.Individualswithsignificant consistency through the course of thedisabilities (ordinarily) dont have re-inconsistent year has been meaningfullationshipswithpeoplewhoarenot to her son. paid to be with them, Walsh says. But Thechurchalsoworkedtocon- in church, Hack, and others like him, tinueholdingyouthchoirrehearsalsaresurroundedbypeoplewhoare online. That enabled Caryn Gehrkescompassionate and protective.four children, one of whom, 7-year- WhileHackadoresFatherJim feature story /15"