'She was welcomed beautifully and sensitively into church membership'
A membership service with a difference took place at Oakes Baptist Church, Huddersfield for a young lady with additional needs. This is her story, as written by her mum
E is a young lady with special needs who was dedicated at Oakes in 1995. She has grown up in the church and has delighted everyone with her flag waving and squeals of joy.
At her dedication, one of the ministers said: "You are so beautiful" (which was very kind but not entirely true - she weighed 3 pounds and looked like a little ET) "And so, so special. The Lord has something very special for you. You have been brought into this world to bless others."
Twenty-four years later E has become a member of Oakes – not through the traditional route of baptism and with her own set of gifts that are quite unique.
She cannot read or write, she won’t be able to vote, but will definitely make her voice heard.
She has no source of income but is generous with her smiles, her squeals and huge welcome. She lets everyone know that they are special and loved.
She will never make a cup of tea or join a working party or send a text to let you know that she is thinking about you – but she will remember your birthday and make sure that the rest of Huddersfield knows that it is your birthday too – and she will make sure that we don’t forget to sing to you.
She will teach you much patience as you sing "Wind a bobbin" for the hundredth time and help you see the world very differently - perhaps through more trusting, less complicated eyes.
She will never gossip about you, never judge you, never challenge you about your theology. You’ll never know if she is pre- or post- millennial or her views on penal substitution.
But she will pass on to you her ‘contagious joy’.
For E faith is summed up like this:
Our God is a great big God and He holds us in His hands.
Church is the most exciting place to be and everyone should be invited – the hairdresser, the bus driver, the carers at her home, the lady on the till at Sainsbury's….
Heaven is a great big party where we dance with Jesus, dad, grandma and the cat (not always in that order!)
So with much flag-waving and singing "Our God is a Great Big God," prayers of thanksgiving, blessing and a handshake, E was welcomed beautifully and sensitively into church membership by the Revd Adrian Ward.
It was very moving, very inclusive and a very special way of acknowledging the contribution people with additional needs make to church life.
Image | Roman Kraft | Freely Photos
This story was first shared by the Yorkshire Baptist Association, and is republished with permission