Winter Newsletter – 2022
During the holiday season, Shirley visited the Holy Land with her son Greg, who has a disability. They are part of the Friendship group at Messiah Lutheran Church in Brownsburg, Indiana.
The photo was taken in the Old City of Jerusalem standing on the Via Dolorosa. This is the route believed to be the path Jesus walked on the way to His crucifixion.
They are wearing the shirts they received at the 2019 Summer Friendship Gathering. The theme for that summer was “In His Steps.” Shirley and Greg literally walked “In His Steps,” wearing their shirts and receiving attention from other tourists.
They also took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and watched fishermen throw out their nets. They celebrated communion in the Garden of Gethsemane and renewed their baptism at the Jordan River. They did all this and much more, as they walked “In His Steps.”
Connection Ministries’ mission is connecting people together to love and serve God, and each other. Through this ministry God brings our friends with intellectual disabilities, their families, volunteers, and donors together in a unique and special Christian community.
The Friendship group at Messiah is one of many Friendship groups that make up the Connection Ministries’ community. It is a place where our friends with intellectual disabilities learn God’s Word, and how they can walk “In His Steps” in their own communities, even if they don’t get a chance to walk the streets of Jerusalem.
In the Body of Christ there are many parts, and all of us are important. This is true for everyone in the Connection Ministries’ community. The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 12:21-22 that, “those parts of the Body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” We all have a place. God put us together in community just as He wants us.
Come visit one of the Friendship groups listed on our website, https://connection-ministries.org/network-churches/ See if God is leading you to be a part of this community.
Other ways you can participate in the Connection Ministries’ community is through your prayers and financial support.
Pray for the continued fruitfulness of our work together. Pray that God will give us wisdom and direct more friends with disabilities, their families and churches to this ministry.
Many people also participate through their financial gifts. As Pam Crowder joins our team, your financial support is both needed and appreciated.
As we plan for the Summer Gatherings, please pray for the fruitfulness of our work. If you are able to make a gift, your financial support is appreciated! You can give online by clicking on the “Give Now” button below.
Everyone has been excited about meeting in-person again with their Friendship groups. We value the Christian community we have with each other. The theme for this summer is Reimagine Community,” and at the Gatherings we will look at what God’s Word says about belonging, growing, and loving in community. We will “Reimagine Community” the way God intended it to be!
Connection Ministries’ is updating the online training videos for your congregation’s Gathering team. This project will be completed by April 1st. The link is https://connection-ministries.org/summer-friendship-gathering-training/
The video format will allow you to train your team and focus on the specifics of your individual Gathering. Connection Ministries will also provide two in-person training sessions for the whole ministry during April and May. In person training is best, but if you can’t attend training with your church’s team or one of our ministry wide training events, the videos can be viewed from home.
Pam Crowder has joined the Connection Ministries team as our new Ministry Consultant, and we are glad she is here. I hesitate to say she is replacing Jackie, because we can never replace the relationship we have with Jackie. Instead, Pam will bring her own spiritual gifts and talents to the position. She will love us, and we will quickly love her.
Pam has had a heart for friends with intellectual disabilities since high school when she volunteered for a summer day camp. Since then, she enjoyed a career in therapeutic recreation and working with people who are elderly and living with Alzheimer’s.
Pam has been part of the Friendship group at College Park church since it began about 10 years ago. She enjoys leading worship alongside our friends with disabilities and learning from their uninhibited praises. We welcome Pam to our team!
Have you met Pam Crowder yet? Some of you have met her because she has been involved with the Friendship group at College Park forever (in dog years). She is truly a dog person, but I know she loves our friends with disabilities even more. I miss Jackie a lot, but I think Pam will be great for healing my heart!
In the upcoming months, Pam and I will visit many Friendship groups (I will bring Don along, too). Help make Pam feel welcome. Maybe you can say a prayer with her (and scratch me behind my ears). We would like that a lot!
Thrivent continues to be an important partner with Connection Ministries. In 2021, our community directed $543 of their Thrivent Choice Dollars to the ministry. This is unfortunately down from 2020. If you are a Thrivent member, you can easily advance our ministry by simply going online and directing your “free” Thrivent Choice dollars to Connection Ministries.
Many of you also used your 2021 Thrivent Action Teams projects to fund meals for the Summer Friendship Gatherings! Please consider doing this again in 2022.
If you are a Thrivent member and have not yet directed all your 2021 Thrivent Choice Dollars, do so by March 31st. After this date, your 2021 funds will be lost forever! Members can login to their Thrivent account with the button below.