New service offers Special Needs families a place to worship
On Sunday, June 28 more than 90 people gathered for the first service at HPUMC dedicated to worship with the special needs community. The Feast, led by Rev. Ramsey Patton, was created to be a safe place where all are included and invited; where everyone is free to be who they are and worship however they feel God is leading them.
“We were excited to have our son Luke with us today because it fed him, not only spiritually, but also in the heart and with the mind,” says Mark Andrews. “It was a great service overall. We were so glad to be here.”
Mark and his wife Peggy have attended HPUMC for many years, in part they say, because of the Special Needs ministry. Their son Luke attended Night OWLS, a respite program that offers families with special needs a night out.
Mark Andrews says the new service is a natural next step for the special needs community at HPUMC by offering his son a place to feel welcomed and accepted.
“He can come and feel at home, be with his friends, and be part of the entire church,” Mark Andrews says. “It’s wonderful.”
“It has really met our needs as well as his needs,” adds Peggy Andrews.
The Feast is not only a place for those with special needs to feel accepted, it’s also a place where they are included. That’s because the greeters, singers, Scripture readers, and those who pray are all people with special needs.
“I thought it was wonderful in that it encompassed so many different people, says Melanie Lucido, Night OWLS Program Coordinator for HPUMC. “Families felt comfortable to stand up and make sounds and nobody looked at them. Everyone was accepting.”
Lucido has worked in the special needs department at HPUMC for eight years. She says it has been neat to watch how the church continues to embrace people of all ages who have special needs.
“It’s extra special for me because I have a son with special needs. To feel the total acceptance and see that they view everyone in the same way, whether they have a special need or not, is truly amazing.”
During her message, Rev. Patton explained her hope for The Feast to be a community where people will get to know each other’s names and stories. The name of the service finds its inspiration in the heavenly feast. Just like the heavenly feast, all are invited and included.
“It is our hope and prayer that this service is a welcome place for those with special needs, their families and friends, and all who have a heart for special needs,” says Rev. Patton. “It is a place where we all come together to worship God.”
To get involved, contact Ramsey Patton at .