Seeing the Invisible People all around us

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Several television programs have prospered featuring the idea of an invisible person. Many of us had a childhood fantasy to be invisible and be able sneak up on our friends or hear what the adults are saying.

However, to be a part of an invisible population within a community in fact, not fantasy, is a troubling reality faced by more people than you know. Of the adult population in America, 18. 7 percent are invisible to the majority of us. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2002), 51.2 million people living in the U.S. have some level of disability and 32.5 million have a severe disability. The largest minority population in the United States is invisible to all but a few organizations in the community. Special needs adults — men and women who are challenged physically, emotionally, or intellectually — make up this large, invisible minority. Yes, that is correct! Almost one in five adults that are in the grocery store with you fit into this population. But, you say, “I don’t ever see them.” Exactly!

Our school systems, with the help of LESA, do a wonderful job in responding to the needs of this minority population. Special Olympics, St. George’s Ministry, The ARC of Livingston, and Steve and Patty Gronow’s fishing derbies recognize and respond to this population of special people.

In 2005, Chilson Hills Church began a ministry with these talented, spiritually alive adults. Following the model developed by the Glovers entitled Zachariah’s Way Ministry, the Church began to find ways to make visible this invisible portion of the population. Chilson Hills now wishes to share this important ministry to this minority population who are mostly ignored by the church at large. The Chilson Hills special needs ministry team, Zachariah’s Way, is sponsoring, “How Churches Can Respond to Special Needs,” this weekend.

David and Lee Glover from Atlanta, Ga., national consultants to churches on behalf of special-needs adults, will be teaching representatives of churches how to become aware, acknowledge, and minister to these invisible persons that are within every congregation and every community in America. Beginning Saturday, Oct. 2 at 9 a.m., the Glovers will provide practical ideas for the formation of responsible and respectful ministry programs with special-needs adults. A lunch will be served by C.C. Catering, Inc. of Brighton. The program will end by 3 p.m. Then at Chilson Hills on Sunday at the 10:30 Celebration Worship, the Zachariah’s Way Team will provide a meaningful opportunity for worship of God in an all inclusive setting. You can learn more about this unique opportunity at www.Chilsonhills.org.