CONNECTING THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF THE GOSPEL TO THE LIVES OF PEOPLE TOUCHED BY DISABILITY
Special Connections is a ministry to people of all abilities. Our desire is to see society and the Body of Christ show equal concern for people with disabilities and their families as is shown for others. Therefore, our focus is ministering, in word and deed, both to and alongside people touched by disability. We seek to enable people with disabilities and their families hear the gospel of God’s grace, fully participate in the Body of Christ, and fully contribute in their churches and communities. Please see our organization’s statements and core beliefs below.
Special Connections is based from Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Birmingham, Alabama. For more information on the Presbyterian Church in America denomination and its Special Needs Ministries, click here. People involved in this ministry are from many different churches, denominations, religions or have no religious affiliation. All opportunities are open to everyone in the community.
We help people with disabilities and their families have many opportunities for worship, learning and building relationships with others attending Briarwood Church. Our goal is to help families participate in life-on-life relationships and in the life of the church in any ways they choose. Our special education classes and inclusion program help children, youth and adults with disabilities to grow spiritually and socially with one another and with typically developing peers. Our home base on Sundays is Room
N-110 for all worship services and Sunday School. Service Times on Sundays:
- 8:00 am……..First Worship Service
- 9:30 am……..Sunday School Hour
- 10:55 am……Second Worship Service
- 6:00 pm……..Evening Worship Service
Care is also provided during other times, for church Bible Studies, special events, etc. Please contact June Cork at 205.587.2632 for more information. Interpreting services are available for the Hearing Impaired. For more information contact 205.822.8080.
- We provide many opportunities for building relationships and developing abilities:
- Women’s Fellowship – dinners, retreats, prayer groups and support network provide encouragement to mothers and others who care for persons with special needs.
- Respite Care – much-needed breaks for those who provide ongoing care of family members with special needs
- Youth and Adult Social Groups – Dinners, movies, karaoke, games, recreation and other activities foster friendships and community
- Summer Activities – weekly summer camp sessions, drama camp, VBS, Super
- Summer field trips
- Family Services – encouragement, practical support, social and recreational activities for all family members.
- Community Outreach – mercy and evangelistic outreach to special needs families in the inner city and overseas, job skills training
- Community Forum Series – educational workshops taught by professionals, monthly support groups, disability ministry conferences
- Volunteering – many ways to minister to people touched by disability
We provide resources to families touched by disability:
- Consultation and advocacy with schools
- Referrals to physicians, therapies, counseling, job/life skills coaches, etc. who are experienced in helping people with disabilities
- Email network for notice of year-round and opportunities and resources in the community
We provide assistance to groups:
- Consultation with churches in developing disability ministry
- Consultation with schools and home school associations in educating and caring for people with disabilities
- Participation in the PCA Special Needs Ministries Start Up Team
Do you have questions? Please contact June Cork, Director, at 205.776.5291.
WE WANT TO SEE: The Gospel made accessible to all as the Body of Christ shows equal concern
for people with disabilities and their families.
WE AIM TO: Extend God’s grace by providing the care, resources, and opportunities for:
- People with disabilities and their families to be transformed by the Gospel
- People with special needs to live full lives, reaching their potential in every area of development
- People with disabilities to encourage and inspire others to reach their own potential
- Churches to experience how people with disabilities help complete the Body of Christ
- Churches and their members to effectively minister to and alongside people touched by disability
WE MINISTER BY:
- Evangelizing Through Disabilities – Through biblical perspective of disabilities, sharing the gospel of Christ with families so they experience God’s love and His purposes for their lives.
- Championing People – Discipling and mentoring individuals with disabilities to learn how their limitations are actually unique abilities to be used to glorify God.
- Caring for the Whole Family – Building relationships with families touched by disability that provide friendship and encouragement through care, learning, recreation and counseling.
- Encouraging Churches – Engaging churches and their members, though prayer and mercy, to value families with special needs, enabling them to freely worship, grow spiritually, and share their gifts in the Body of Christ.
- Increasing Understanding – Promoting a biblical perspective on disability, a proper understanding of the abilities and potential of people with special needs through awareness, education, literature and resources.
- Calling Others to Join Us – Educating and equipping churches and others in local communities with models of effectively meeting the needs of people with disabilities.
CORE BELIEFS CONCERNING DISABILITY
WE MINISTER BECAUSE:
- No physical, mental or spiritual condition is outside the transforming power of the gospel.
- Every person bears the image of God and is infinitely valued and given purpose by Him.
- The gospel demands our compassion, not pity, and respect, not reservation, for all who live with any form of brokenness, spiritual or physical.
- Disabilities can be special abilities to experience God’s grace.
- People with special needs have families with special needs.
- The Body of Christ is not complete without people with special needs.
- The Body of Christ is called to fully include people with disabilities and receives blessings in return.