There are so many different ministries at Central and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of everything that goes on during the week. Every third Tuesday of the month, an incredible ministry, called Rejoicing Spirits, gathers in the sanctuary for a special kind of worship.
Rejoicing Spirits is a ministry that focuses on men and women with mild to moderate disabilities and provides them with a worship service that caters to their needs. In this environment, they are free to move, make noises, talk, and just be themselves in a loving and encouraging place.
“For these rejoicers, [it’s a place] for people with disabilities to come - if they need to squirm or move around - it’s a service just for them…. it’s their service,” said Doris Paul.
A typical service at Rejoicing Spirits has song, prayer, and a message. The congregation is encouraged to share prayer requests and praises. After the message, they ask all those who have birthdays for that month to come to the front and the congregation sings Happy Birthday. At the request of the Rejoicers, they sing Rocky Top and are then dismissed. The service usually lasts about 45-minutes.
Adult Community Training (ACT) offers assistance to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ten years ago, Susan Miller was inspired by a friend from Pennsylvania to get involved in this ministry. By partnering with ACT, she started this journey by creating a place for these individuals to gather for a luncheon once a month in Tellico Village where they enjoyed singing and dancing together.
When Susan and her family came to Central, she brought the idea of Rejoicing Spirits to the church council. The request got approved and she went to work creating a time for the people of ACT to have fun and learn about God in a way that’s special to them. When it first started, they had a small band and, with her partner Betsy Switzer, they created a theme for each session.
“I believe that these are God’s children and God wants them to gather in fellowship....It’s wonderful to be a part of this ministry,” said Susan Miller.
Photo from Rejoicingspirits.org