Parliamentarians and dignitaries at the Autism Sunday London Service at All Saint’s Church, Woodford Wells

A packed church heard prayers for autism and Asperger’s Syndrome at a London Service to mark Autism Sunday 2009 – the International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome on 8th February 2009. People came from all over London for the service held at All Saint’s Church in Woodford Wells, one of the largest churches in the area. Many wore the autism awareness ribbons to mark Autism Sunday.

The reading was by the Financial Secretary to HM Treasury, Rt.Hon.Stephen Timms MP and Ellie Zavaroni, read a moving poem as a prayer. A prayer was also said by a 13 year old boy with autism, Charin Corea. His parents, autism campaigners Ivan and Charika Corea founded Autism Sunday in 2002. A historic service was held at St.Paul’s Cathedral in 2002 Autism Awareness Year in the UK.

Prayers were said at the Autism Sunday Service at All Saint’s Church, Woodford Wells for the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Chancellor Alistair Darling and Children’s Secretary Ed Balls that they would reach out to the Autism Community during the financial crisis. People prayed for Cheryl Gillan MP’s Autism Bill, now before the House of Commons in the UK.

The Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Commons in London, Mike Gapes MP and a member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Health Lee Scott MP were also at the high profile service. Lee Scott has championed the cause of autism in Westminster. The Deputy Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Hinds and Deputy Mayoress Pauline Hughes were among the dignitaries, including heads of UK charities. The service was conducted by Reverend Paul Harcourt, a father of a child with autism.

The beautiful and moving song for autism, ‘Open Every Door’ sung by Gresha Schuilling and written by Nimal Mendis and re-released by Media Eye Music in London for Autism Sunday was played in the service.

David Cameron the British Opposition Leader in the House of Commons in London released a message supporting Autism Sunday. ‘I would lke to express my support for Autism Sunday. As many as one in a hundred people could be affected by some form of autism, and it is important that we recognise and raise awareness of the difficulties and challenges that they can face.’Sarah Brown, wife of the Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent her best wishes. Dignitaries from around the world sent messages of support for Autism Sunday including His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California one of the largest churches in America. Pastor Rick Warren was chosen by US President Barack Obama to lead the invovation at his inauguration in Washington D.C. Another US Church Leader, Pastor Creflo Dollar sent a personal message to the organisers of Autism Sunday stating ‘We are praying for you.’ The Bishop of London Rt.Rev.Richard Chartres personaly supported Autism Sunday.

British parliamentarian David Drew tabled a motion in the House of Commons in Westminster backing Autism Sunday. EDM 710 calls for the re-possessions of homes of families with autism to be stopped among a range of concerns on autism.

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