Appeal to churches to support people with autism

Parliamentarians, councillors and dignitaries will join people with autism and Asperger's Syndrome at a service at All Saint's Church, Woodford Wells, on Sunday 8 February.

The family service is being held in to mark Autism Sunday 2009 - the International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

The service will be led by the Rev Paul Harcourt, who is a father of a child with autism. Rev Harcourt is also a leader of New Wine, which has a special needs ministry.

Joining the congregation will be Lee Scott MP, who has campaigned for autism in the House of Commons in Westminster.

Campaigners are using Autism Sunday to lobby world leaders to do more on the health and education issues related to autism and Asperger's Syndrome. They are also warning that the global recession is affecting families with autism who are below the poverty line, with homes of families with autism in the United States and in the United Kingdom being repossessed by banks.

Autism advocates in the US are urging President Barack Obama to speak up for autism on Autism Sunday and open the White House in Washington DC to families and adults with autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

Ivan Corea said, Autism Sunday founder, said, "We appeal to world leaders and faith leaders to reach out to parents, carers, children and adults with autism and Asperger's Syndrome during the economic downturn.

"Many are struggling as a result of the credit crunch and the recession. So many are in winter fuel poverty. They need help. Faith communities do have a role to play in reaching out to the vulnerable and the marginalised."

Prayers for autism can be found on to mark Autism Sunday.