The National Office of the UCC has chosen the PARABLES Worship Service at Wayzata Community Church as an “Inspiring Model of Ministry” for churches across the country! To celebrate this honor, on Sunday, October 26th, WCC, the National Office and the Minnesota Conference of the UCC will be hosting a day long event inviting pastors, worship leaders, Christian educators, lay leaders and seminary students to experience the PARABLES ministry first hand. This will include attending the worship service, fellowship with families, reflection over lunch and time to consider how to bring a Parables-like service out to other churches.
Here is what Rev. Dr. Lorna Bradley, a Fellow at the Hope and Healing Institute in Houston, Texas had to say about her recent PARABLES Experience…
“Hospitality and welcoming in worship are things we all know about. Hopefully we’ve all experienced both. Sadly, as parents of children with special needs, that hospitality is often lacking – so when we truly receive it, we know how precious a gift it is.
I recently attended worship at Parables. I knew about the service. I read about it, watched a video, and talked at length with the founding pastor, Rev. Leslie Neugent. KNOWING about Parables and EXPERIENCING Parables were different matters entirely. It was boundary-breaking, joy-filled worship with surprises and the in-breaking of God at every turn. If you live anywhere near Wayzata, MN, you must experience this worship for yourself. Even if you don’t live near, it’s worth the trip! I flew all the way from Texas and know without a doubt it will not be my only experience of Parables. If your church could use an infusion of radical hospitality to the special needs community in worship, go to Parables!
What’s so different about this service? It is worship created for and led by people with special needs. I wrote in my blog recently a prayer, ‘Please God, let something happen in worship today
that isn’t printed in the bulletin.’ That prayer was answered. Big time! Picture a parade of whoever cares to participate processing down the aisle, singing, shaking tambourines, hand in hand with the pastor. A young man with sensory issues held his hands over his ears even as he marched in joyously, and then decided to go sit on the chancel steps for the rest of the service. A fine plan! It has the best view! During a break in the action a young lady who was late to church gave the pastor a seemingly never-ending hug, marching onto the altar to do so. Why should it matter? A young man, who was until very recently non-verbal, went around the room during the time of greeting saying, ‘Hello. How are you?’ It made me cry tears of joy. I saw the hands and feet of Jesus at work in these participants.
How often are people with differences celebrated in worship? How often do they get to offer their gifts and let them shine?”
Please join us at Wayzata Community Church for a day of sharing the inclusive love of Jesus. Register now!
…from Rev. Leslie Neugent, Wayzata Community Church