Many find it difficult to operate within the social norms and constructs of traditional worship. Parables opens up those social norms so that everyone is welcome to “come as they are.” We are a “no-shushing” zone in which making noise, moving around, singing out, leaving the room and coming back are all acceptable behaviors. We delight in our diversity and don't sweat the small stuff.
We delight in our diversity and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Parables has noise-reducing headphones available for those who need them. We also have fidgets and calming aids such as weighted blankets. We have a quiet room adjacent to the worship room with beanbag chairs and pillows for anyone who would like to remove themselves from being over-stimulated for a while.
Worship at Parables Community accommodates special needs and employs special gifts. Symbols are projected for each distinct part of the service: Singing, Call to Worship, Passing the Peace, Praying, Scripture, Message, and Benediction. These symbols are also printed alongside the words in the bulletin, so that the same bulletin showing the order of the worship service can be used by readers and non-readers alike. Rhythm instruments are used by all and songs are simple choruses that do not require the ability to read. The pastor’s message is brief, designed to engage the entire community, and accompanied by projected photos that help convey the message.
At Parables Community we recognize that all people have gifts to share. We welcome everyone to share their gifts as worship leaders, prayer leaders, scripture readers, greeters, and music makers. God has given us all to one another so that the Body of Christ may be complete. Every person in the community is important and valued. Everyone belongs and everyone serves.
We recently raised $1500 to build the “Holding Hands Bike Rack” for the Playground for Everyone at Butterfield Park, a new playground that includes play equipment for children with disabilities so that all children can play together. This is our first effort at reaching out to serve the community around us – a very exciting opportunity for us in our first year! We plan to serve at a free community Christmas Party for children with disabilities and their families. We also plan to serve together in January at Feed My Starving Children, a hunger relief organization.
Parables Community is a part of the Open Roof Fellowship in the Church of the Brethren, recognized for our efforts at including those with disabilities. Parables is also a member congregation of the Anabaptist Disabilities Network. We received an honorable mention from the McCormick Prize for Innovative Ministry in 2016.
Parables Community is just beginning but we are looking forward to seeing where God leads us. We appreciate your prayers and support.
Jeanne Davies is Pastor of Parables Community Church