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The Beacon Monday, April 11, 2011 features 5

Local churches
compared with that experienced by
children with special needs. They are LISTEN TO THEIR VOICE
rarely included socially because of their There are many things that norma-

prepare for Easter


condition, but that does not mean that tive people do not grasp about those
they don’t have a desire to fellowship, with special needs.
make new friends, and be just like the “I wish people could see the love they
show because they can’t show it how
By Andrea Preciado
we show it,” says Phillips.
“Just because they Knebel becomes emotional at the
Staff Writer
joy she has experienced each week
cannot speak, that through her ministry. “You start to
As spring arrives, iconic sights of marsh-
mallow peeps, chocolate bunnies, pastel
grasses, and Easter eggs arise as the sweets
doesn’t mean that have an actual connection with them…
you miss them when you’re not there from Valentine’s Day and Christmas are for-
gotten and replaced. Yet, as the stores stock
they don’t have one week.”
As a result of her brother’s testi-
their shelves and fill their storage rooms
with bunnies and eggs, many people prepare
something to say.” mony, Phillips wants to devote her life
to working with disabled kids as the
to remember and celebrate the anniversary of
Christ’s victory over the grave.
- Denise Briley teacher that “furthers their potential
and loves on them.”
At First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach,
in addition to the normal Sunday services,
“I always assumed God would take services will be offered on Good Friday
“cool kids” along with everyone else. Wesley out of this world in a peace- with an Easter morning sunrise service
on Sunday. There will also be a com-
“They’re looking through the world ful, painless manner but his death was munity-wide Easter egg hunt at the
as a ‘what’s wrong with me lens?’” says painful,” says Phillips. “He was hooked South Olive Community Center, held
Professor Emory Twoey at PBA. “They into machine after machine with IVs by First Baptist’s children ministry, to
see that they’re behind and they know celebrate the joy of Easter.
it.” “I wish people To remember the sacrifice Jesus
made on the cross, the Catholic Church
Twoey has been working the field
of special education for 25 years and could see the love participates in a 40 day preparation
called the Season of Lent. During Lent,
teaches elementary educators class-
room management and behavior mod- they show because the Catholic Church reflects on the im-
age of the desert as a time to grow clos-
ifications. er to God while giving up or fasting
Briley says that they want relation- they can’t show it from something in your life for the 40
ships just like we do. At Graceview, days. The service readings are geared
she takes the majority of special needs how we show it.” towards compassion and reflection
leading up to Easter Sunday.
children and adults she has to regular
worship at church. - Meaghan Phillips Lent includes Ash Wednesday, Holy
Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Satur-
Alex Wainer, associate professor of day, and Easter. On Ash Wednesday
communication at PBA, is the father in his neck, arms, and legs. The nurs- and Good Friday, people are asked to
of 17-year-old Ben, with high function- es noticed weak little Wesley’s huge abstain from eating meat. People are
ing autism. He acknowledges his son’s fight for his life; he battled. Nurses in also encouraged to do some fasting,
need for acceptance. the ICU who see death every day were some good deeds and some form of
almsgiving. Ash Wednesday includes
“He needs to form friendships… he sobbing when Wesley finally passed.
a service where a priest places ashes
wants to be with neuro-typical kids.” Wesley suffered, just as Christ did, so on the head of the attendee of the ser-
Jones says that special needs chil- that he could witness to just a few more vice. This is done to mimic the ancient
dren can have a connection with other lives in that hospital.” Near Eastern tradition of pouring
children that she can’t really do. “I like Children and adults with spe- ashes on one’s head as a symbol of re-
the idea of her being with other chil- cial needs try to use their voice daily pentance before God.
dren.” through music, affection, and asso- At Christ Fellowship CityPlace,
the Christ Fellowship church fam-
ley ciation. There is such a need for these ily is participating in a 21-day prayer
way WHAT DO WE NEED TO voices to be heard. When listening, our and fasting event in April called “the
hillips
UNDERSTAND? eyes will be forever opened to ways that Daniel fast.” It’s called the Daniel fast
“The opportunity for the other stu- Wesley and others express themselves because the participants abstain from
dents to learn and redefine what’s nor- along with embracing their story. eating meats and focus on only eating
mal is important,” says Jones. vegetables and whole grains, follow-
As a church leader, Knebel, says, For students who are ing the fast that occurred in the book
of Daniel.
“We get caught up in our rat races. looking for Workship The group will focus on prayer to
Sometimes we just have to slow down
and connect with someone like that.”
hours or have an interest draw closer to God at this time. When
the event finishes on April 21, Easter
Before starting her ministry, Bri- in working with special weekend begins. As Easter arrives,
ley was burdened for the need of the needs here are some Christ Fellowship’s multiple cam-
puses expand their service schedules
church to become more welcoming. opportunities for you: to celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice and resur-
As an expert, her perspective is: “The
rection.
church should the easiest place for
families to go and sometimes it is the > Special Needs
Ministry
Charlotte Rakestraw / Graphic Arts Editor
hardest,” says Briley. “My favorite part
is seeing churches open up those doors Grace Fellowship Church
even for just one child can make a dif-
ference.”
contact Tina Knebel
Twoey’s perspective as a teacher is (561) 719-6929
that these kids are experiencing major
frustrations. They will try to accom- > Special Needs
plish their tasks at hand, but due to
their disabilities they cannot compete Ministry
with normative people in the speed of Christ Fellowship Church
learning. (561)799-7600
“Fairness doesn’t mean that one size
fits all; it means that everyone gets
gochristfellowship.com
what they need,” says Twoey. “You
have to build in allowances for the > Local Affiliates
learning curve. They need more atten- Seagull Industries
tion and resources.”
Twoey reminds his students daily
in West Palm Visit
(561) 842-5814
of differences in lenses that we look
through and the lenses that people
readmybeacon.com
with special needs look through. “The Visit readmybeacon.com to experience the sights
major point that we try and drive for more pictures from
through is to see the world as special
Grace Fellowship. and sounds of
the Palm Beach Zoo
needs children do,” he says.